Abba Mania at Shaftesbury Theatre
It feels like perfect timing to be writing this review of Abba Mania on the day of Eurovision 2021. Theatre is back and so is Eurovision….and isn’t that just glorious?! The show opened with the theatre manager welcoming us all back to the theatre and from that moment I struggled to work out who was more thrilled to be back – the audience or those on stage!
Abba Mania is billed as the ‘original Abba Tribute,’ dating back to 1999 including an 18 week run in the West End in 2002. Well it is now back in the West End turning us all into Dancing Queens. The list goes on and on with Abbas hits and we were treated to all of the big ones, from opening with their Eurovision hit, Waterloo,’ through to Dancing Queen, Thank you For The Music and Does Your Mother Know. The show is paced very well and helped by the fact that most of Abba’s hits were high energy floor fillers, resulting in an audience who doesn’t need telling twice to get onto their feet! There was a moment during the show where we were treated to some of Abba’s slower and more tender hits but as they were performed together it ensured the show flowed well and the cast didn’t constantly have to spend time getting the energy back up. This was exactly what the audience wanted and whilst moments were cheesy (phones out to light up the audience) this was lapped up and you wouldn’t expect anything less from an Abba Tribute band.
The cast were all superb with Agnetha Faltskog played by Rhiannon Porter, Anni-Frid Lyngstad played by JoJo Desmond, Bjorn Ulvaeus by Edward Handoll and Benny Andersson (and also the musical director) was Loucas Hajantoni. Together they sounded just like Abba although Rhiannon Porter particularly stood out with very strong spine tingling vocals. They were backed by a 3 piece bank with Anders Rye on lead guitar, Paul Gregory on Drums and Dan Hall on Bass guitar. It was wonderful to see the band getting into the spirit of things and them joining in with some of the dances made me smile.
Finally I should also commend the technical side of the show. The lighting was spot on for a concert of this style and as for the screen, who doesn’t love a huge disco ball appearing? Sound wise, from where I was sitting, the balance was great – I could hear everything perfectly.
Abba Mania is everything you would hope for from an Abba Tribute show- packed full of Abba hits, high energy, great vocals from the cast and most of all so so so feel good, so Abba Mania….I thank you for the music and for giving it to me!
Abba Mania is running until the 6th June of Shaftesbury Theatre. You can buy tickets and find out more here.