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Mamma Mia

The new Abba movie has got Lynn Hawthorne rethinking her attitude to the iconic '70s Swedes. Not to mention stomping her feet and waving her arms in the air.

Recently, I wrote about the popularity of tribute bands and how wistful the nostalgia made me, how it made me look at my life and think about how it’s turned out. (see link here).

I said in that piece that I’d never really been a fan of ABBA, but I’ve just been to the cinema to see Mamma Mia! and I’m close to changing my mind!

I haven’t seen that amount of bustle in a cinema foyer for years. Here were 30, 40 and 50-somethings all hassling for a place in a seemingly never-ending queue. Every woman was coiffured, perfumed and dressed to kill.

The few men in the ranks seemed isolated, embarrassed, even wary of this amount of women all packed into one place. They made as little eye contact as possible as they shuffled forward, hoping that they would see no-one they knew. The women pressed relentlessly on, with the kind of enthusiasm reserved usually for post-Christmas sales.

And then we were in, all trying to get the best possible seats and firkling in copious handbags to produce illicit sweets. The group in front of me drew out a bottle of wine and plastic cups, determined to have a good night. There was a sense of occasion, of anticipation, of, dare I say it, sisterhood.

After adverts and trailers and other nonsense, the film classification certificate came up and received a cheer, so eager were we for the film to start.

It was worth waiting for because the film is a riot. I haven’t laughed that much in ages. The scenery, the sunlight, the camaraderie, the music, the dancing all blended together to make for a wonderful spectacle of pure entertainment. And how fabulous to have three middle-aged women in lead roles, where they are celebrated and not shunted to the background to make way for the young and the pretty.

Meryl Streep’s singing voice is a revelation and the men, well, they sang like any man we might know: with gusto, but slightly off-key, but when they look that good, who cares? The guys, though reticent at first, obviously enjoyed their new challenge.

At the end of the film, the audience burst into spontaneous and grateful applause, again something I haven’t heard of in years. Everyone joined in with the final songs and emerged from the auditorium still singing and beaming from ear to ear.

The whole production is a joy from start to finish. So stuff the snooty critics who might snipe and go and enjoy a fantastic night out. Revel in the sheer pleasure and fun of it all and let your hair down, too. For one night, it doesn’t matter what’s going on in the outside world, because, for two hours, you are free. Put a spring in your step and a song in your heart and party like you did when you were sweet seventeen. Have a ball!



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