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Get Out More......................Theatre Review

SING-A-LONG ABBA

Alexandra Theatre

08-12-2009

Abba don’t just appeal to women of a certain age. Either that or Terry Wills should be telling us something.

Now this REALLY was a new theatrical experience. Down the years I must have seen every type of show imaginable. Musicals, plays, drama, comedy, classical concerts, opera, circuses, tributes, pantomimes, the lot. But a Sing-a-long Abba night out; surely this had to be far removed from any of the above?

Well, Yes and No.

‘Yes’ relates to the sights and sounds of four singers attired in garish costumes who captured the imagination back in 1974 when the then-unknown Swedish quartet sang Waterloo to overwhelm all opposition and be voted winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. (A triumph that’s led to them become arguably becoming the most famous singing group of all time).

‘No’, well, an early glimpse of family audiences filling virtually every seat in the house waving banners and flags, garlands round their necks, set the tone for a fun filled two hours in an atmosphere that resembled an early glimpse of a traditional Christmas pantomime.

Bjorn, Benny, Frida, and Agnetha bounced on to the stage to run through the repertoires of songs naturally accompanied by a large illuminated screen bearing the lyrics of their oh so familiar classics.

Super Trouper, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Money, Money, Money The Name of the Game, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Fernando, Take A Chance on Me and many others that led to the audience spending more time standing and waving their arms than sitting in their seats.

Naturally there had to be a dancing competition but how do you choose from the hundreds swirling around with happy smiling faces?

Simple. Have a roving cameraman focusing on the singers before moving on to capture audience members who were determined to strut their stuff dancing in the aisles, and they didn’t need the any encouragement - whatever the song played.

In fact it was the dancing competition that proved so VERY popular, but no surprise seeing as the song that determined just who would be judged the winner was none other than Dancing Queen.

Eventually seven were chosen, they happily performed as if born to it, and the winner was determined by the reception received from the audience.

Great fun. Laughs aloud. Mission accomplished.

Verdict on my first taste of a Sing-a-long how:  If you enjoy the music of Abba this was a perfect night out. As there was no programme I haven’t the faintest idea who played the quartet, their success to date, or how long they’re touring.

But whatever - this WILL turn out to be a crowd puller. At times due to the audience being encouraged to join in whenever and wherever possible, it was difficult to gauge the quality of their voices.

But then that really didn’t matter. The audience came along to enjoy themselves and without a shadow of doubt that must have led to the Alex management congratulating them on booking a show that led to a very healthy box office return.Can’t wait to see The Sound of Music sing-a-long, the next time that particular favourite makes a return to the city!

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