Music Review: ABBA Mania, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

Image Source: Festivaly

Format: Music Tribute Show
Genre: Pop
Artists: Tamsin Stewart, Megan Turner, Duncan Walsh-Atkins, Justin Brett, Danny Hall, Anders Rye & Paul Gregory
Review Date: June 15 2019
Performance: June 15 2019
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool
Age Rating: 3+

ABBA remain one of the world’s most popular bands, many years on from the release of their last song. There have been scores of tribute acts, and even movies, dedicated to the quartet from Stockholm. ABBA Mania is one of the most recognisable shows paying homage to Agnetha Fältskog, Björn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson and Anni-Frid Lyngstad (Frida), and it returned to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre this past Saturday night.

Synopsis

The show began with a bang via Waterloo, which was once voted as the greatest song ever performed at Eurovision, and it included an extra verse of French. Voulez-Vouz and Knowing Me Knowing You kept things at a high-octane pace, and it was at this point when we were reminded that “Liverpool wants to have a big, big party!” This led to Mamma Mia!, which had everybody up on their feet singing and dancing (to be fair, many attendees were getting involved all night long).

After a slow performance of Intelletto, the tone accelerated again with Money Money Money, before slowing down once more with a solo rendition of I’ve Been Waiting For You. The show featured much audience interaction and multiple costume changes, which helped to transition into songs like Fernando, I Have A Dream and Take A Chance On Me (“we know you can sing and sway, but can you dance?”), which took us to intermission.

The second half kicked off in style with Lay All Your Love On Me and What’s The Name Of The Game. The slower, yet upbeat, vibe continued with Chiquitita and The Winner Takes It All, before accelerating again with SOS and Super Trooper. By this point, everybody remained standing, and Does Your Mother Know saw the band divide the room into two for a mini-singing competition on the main chorus. This was followed by Gimme Gimme Gimme and the timeless Dancing Queen, which unofficially finished the show. The encore came after chants of “One more song!”, and if you know your ABBA music, you’ll know that they chose the perfect tune to properly end the evening, Thank You For The Music.

Analysis

All four main performers rose to the occasion with top-class vocal skills. Tamsin Stewart as Agnetha and Megan Turner as Frida led the way, just as the two female stars did back in ABBA’s heyday; Tamsin particularly shone when singing I’ve Been Waiting For You. Duncan Walsh-Atkins as Benny and Justin Brett as Björn provided the backing vocals and the piano tunes, as well as getting involved with the singing themselves when required. There was also a strong backing band courtesy of Danny Hall, Anders Rye and Paul Gregory. The set was very simplified, with the ABBA Mania banner sitting above the stage and alternating lighting to suit each song. The primary focus was on the music and the performers, and the audience lapped it up every step of the way. Indeed, the crowd couldn’t get enough of this production, and with a running time of just over two hours, the evening flew by.

Summary

ABBA Mania is a fantastic experience for any fans of the Swedish band’s music, and with heavy rumours that ABBA may be about to return to the public eye in a big way, there couldn’t be a better time to check this show out.

Target Audience: Adults Aged 30+
Strong Content: 1/5 – Suitable For All Audiences
Recommendation?: Yes
Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding

ABBA Mania continues to run at venues across the United Kingdom. To buy tickets, click here or call 01457 819 350.