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  • Writer's pictureAlex First

The Choir by ABBA The Museum, at Athenaeum Theatre - 2 hours, including a 20-minute interval

Am I an ABBA fan? You betcha. I love what they created. I adore their songs and their harmonies.

 

And while the closest thing we are likely to see to them performing together again is the hologram concert ABBA Voyage, there is something mighty special in town.

 

I refer to a dedicated choir established by ABBA The Museum in Stockholm a decade ago to mark the group’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest.

What a pleasure and privilege it was to see them perform at the Athenaeum Theatre on their first trip to Melbourne.

 

There are 12 singers, with special arrangements of ABBA songs by Goran Arnberg, a member of the Benny Andersson Orkester.

 

Their two-hour concert, including a 20-minute interval, includes many of ABBA’s hits (from Waterloo and Super Trouper to Mamma Mia and Dancing Queen).

 

To whet your appetite, let me add Take a Chance on Me, Rock Me, Chiquitita and Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!

There are also some lesser-known numbers that are equally ear pleasing.

 

Like ABBA, the choir harmonises magnificently.

 

The dozen share the workload.

 

Although it is definitely a group effort, many of the tunes have one or two of the members leading from the front, with the remainder providing back-up.

 

An instrumental from the Arrival album kicks off proceedings before the choir takes to the stage with Waterloo.

A couple of ABBA songs also receive the a cappella treatment and it works beautifully.

 

Not only does The Choir by ABBA The Museum sing magnificently, capturing the spirit of the super group, but they dress appropriately too.

 

Their costumes have been crafted by Owe Sandstrom, who – with his partner – designed most of ABBA’s costumes in the 1970s.

 

In fact, many of them are on display at the ABBA Museum.

During this show, we hear from Sandstrom via a short video clip in which he describes the inspiration for the choir’s costuming.

 

It starts with black jackets and black pants with sequins, a tribute to the charity concert ABBA gave on behalf of UNICEF in 1979.

 

The striking, blue and white capes (or ponchos) the choir members wear for the start of Act II brings back memories of ABBA’s 1979 North American and European tour.

 

And then the choir brings it home with silver sequins and glitter galore. All I can say is wow!

What a wonderful, feel-good experience The Choir by ABBA The Museum is. I absolutely loved it.

 

Huge plaudits to national LGBTQIA+ health promotion charity The Equality Project for bringing the choir out to Australia. Hopefully, this won’t be their only visit or tour.

 

All proceeds from these Melbourne concerts go towards championing the wellbeing of rainbow communities around the country.

 

The Choir by ABBA The Museum is playing at the Athenaeum Theatre until 22nd June, 2024.

 

If you enter the code ABBA50 you will receive a substantial discount.

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