06/20/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Meryl Streep At 58: Singing And Doing Splits In Anticipated "Mamma Mia"

Filmed last summer in Pinewood Studios and on location on the picturesque island of Skopelos in Greece, the movie version is a glorious and deeply silly confection.

Reports from early test screenings are universally positive - the audiences who have seen it at a secret showing in San Diego came out raving about the transfer of the musical to the big screen.

The surprise?

That Meryl Streep, at 58, is athletic, has a big voice - clear, true and strong - and delivers the goods on Abba's classics without a trace of embarrassment. It is, obviously, her first musical, and the deep thinkers in Hollywood are amazed by the way she is apparently happy to demolish her reputation as a serious-minded Oscar-winning grande dame.

And yet Streep, who is known for her hard-to-live-with perfectionism and love of tricky bits of acting technique and odd accents, emerges from this film as a woman who is accomplished at physical comedy and actually funny when the occasion demands.

'Meryl is very good - it's a revelation,' says one who has seen the film, in which she plays Donna, the mother of a bride-to-be who is confronted by three potential fathers on the eve of her nuptials.

It transpires that Streep saw the stage show in New York with her daughter as a birthday treat and wrote a fan letter to the producers afterwards.

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