Wednesday, December 07, 2022

 

Theatre Royal: ABBA FOREVER

 

THE ABBA Forever band is a slick, professional foursome that does exactly what it says on the tin… perform all the ABBA hits to an audience that already knows them by heart. And just can’t wait to sing, sway, wave, roar along with lyrics that have probably been sung a million times over in kitchens and bathrooms whenever the songs hit the radio.

ABBA Forever was formed and is lead by virtuoso keyboard player and Musical Director Dennis Scally, who plays alongside guitarist Rae Daniel. Vocals are sung and danced by Lucinda O’Connell and Marie O’Hara who give it socks all night long and with the video projections of ABBA winning Eurovision with “Waterloo” in 1974. The song was chosen as the best song in the competition’s history in 2005.

 

‘The first of the glam-rock bands, their music is hypnotically tuneful’

 

The Swedish supergroup was formed in Stockholm in 1972 by two married couples: Agnetha Fältskog, and Björn Ulvaeus, along with Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad. The group’s name is formed from the first letters of their first names and the group went on to become one of the most popular and successful musical groups in the history of popular music, topping the charts worldwide from 1974 to 1982. Fame took its toll on their personal lives, however, and both couples separated leading to the breakup of the band in 1982. The songs that come from this period are probably the best songs that the band wrote… S.O.S… The Winner Takes it All… Money, Money… Knowing Me, Knowing You.

Ten years after the group broke up, a compilation, ABBA Gold, was released, and became a worldwide best-seller. In 1999, ABBA’s music was adapted into Mamma Mia!, a stage musical that toured worldwide and is still in the top-ten longest running productions on both Broadway and the West End. “Momma Mia—the movie” was released in 2008 and became the highest-grossing film in the United Kingdom that year and a sequel “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” was released in 2018.

The band’s record sales are estimated to be between 150 million to 385 million sold worldwide and enjoyed huge success in Britain, Australia, United States, Republic of Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa. In fact, ABBA was Sweden’s second largest export company after Volvo.

So… what was the secret of their success? Well they were the first of the glam-rock bands and their music is hypnotically tuneful. Even now, I still only know a handful of the lyrics of most of the numbers but the disco beat and the constant repetition encourages everyone to sing along.

Just try stopping tonight’s audience that is swaying, clapping on the beat and belting out the lyrics. A deaf man in Ballybricken could have heard the noise. And that’s one of the problems of tonight’s performance. The audience noise in the theatre is so loud that it isn’t always possible to hear the stage and – when the house takes to its feet— see the stage either. It’s that sort of night. The audience are here to enjoy themselves and ABBA FOREVER takes them on a massive musical trip down memory lane.

As for me, well… I had tuned out long before “Dancing Queen” set the feet tapping. I sorta remembered why I had fallen out of love with the glam-rock Super-Troopers… the songs just all began to feel the same. ABBA and I had met our Waterloo!

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By Pat McEvoy, Arts Correspondent
Contact Newsdesk: 051 874951

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