6 November 2016
Reviewed by Louise Watts
Yesterday evening, I attended Thank ABBA for the Music with my 13-year-old daughter. As a child, I grew up listening to my parents Super Trooper album and as a result the music has some very fond memories for me. My daughter however is more familiar with the songs from watching Mamma Mia. It goes without saying then that we are both lovers of the songs and music created by ABBA and were very much looking forward to seeing this tribute band. I went to Stockholm earlier this year and visited the ABBA museum whilst there, which was fantastic. I had also been to an ABBA tribute evening recently (a different group) but had been very disappointed so I was hoping this would be just the medicine needed to restore my faith in how amazing some of these groups can be.
On first impression, the stage looked great, lighting was fantastic and there was a live band all set up and ready to go. Everything looked promising! They opened with Ring Ring and the performance was breath-taking. All 7 performers (3 band members and the 4 singers) were absolutely brilliant. I really like the fact that the band were on stage with the singers as this gives them the recognition and respect they deserve as sadly too often; they are stuck in the pit where no one can see the hard work they are also doing. The harmonies throughout all the songs were amazing, the diction was clear as a bell and they had the audience were clapping and dancing throughout the show! All the ABBA favourites were there – Mamma Mia, SOS, Does your mother know?, I do, I do, I do! They also covered many of ABBA’s lesser known songs, some I had never heard but the performance was perfect regardless!
During the show, there was video footage projected on the screen showing the real ABBA performing the songs being performed on stage. For me this really worked and showed just how outstanding the performers on stage were. There was also commentary from various people interspersed with the singing which also worked. I particularly liked the rendition of I believe in Angels where a local choir from Crawley Stage Coach were brought on to perform. This was a brilliant idea and I loved the fact that the choir were local and consisted of regular kids involved in performing arts. The singers embraced the children on stage and there was an aura of real teamwork and mutual respect.
It would be impossible to review this show without mentioning the costumes! By far the best outfits were worn by Bjorn (Ray). Purple all in ones, white dungarees and incredible platforms… true 1970’s style! Frida (Lisa) and Agentha (Suzi) looked absolutely stunning in their matching outfits (and there were a few!) and probably the subtlest outfits were worn by Benny (Mitch), who still looked like a true member of the 1970’s group!
The Hawth was as always a lovely venue. This is my second evening there in a row having attended my daughters dance show there yesterday. The staff never disappoint, they are friendly, helpful and the theatre has a genuinely happy, fun atmosphere. Parking is easy as there is ample free parking on site. The theatre offers both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks from the bar and the usual theatre crisps and sweets. They do on some evenings also offer a pre-theatre dinner package, although I have never experienced this and so therefore cannot comment on the quality or value for money of that.
To summarise, this was an ABBAsolutely incredible performance and my daughter and I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening. Sometimes tribute acts can spend so much time trying to be the act they are copying that they lose sight of the actual performance quality. This certainly did not happen here, and their act is a true tribute to ABBA. I would actively recommend this to all Abba fans, young and old and would go as far as to say it is an absolute must see, so get out there and book your tickets!
Thank ABBA for the Music is currently on tour around the UK. For more information and tour dates visit www.thankabbaforthemusic.co.uk.
For other shows at The Hawth Theatre in Crawley visit www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636