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40 years on... tribute production brings music of Abba to stage again

By Herald Express  |  Posted: August 21, 2014

PHENOMENON: Abba Reunion recreates the pop idols' touring show

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IT'S 40 years since the Abba classic Waterloo was released and it's fair to say the music of the supergroup is still going strong.

The Swedish pop sensations took Europe by storm in 1974 when they won the Eurovision Song Contest and went on to top the pop charts for more than a decade.

Their much-loved songs have featured in some of the most popular films of the past 30 years including Muriel's Wedding and the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Despite the group disbanding, their music lives on thanks to tribute shows such as the production Abba Reunion which comes to the Babbacombe Theatre on August 30.

Playing the role of Frida is Vikki Holland-Bowyer.

In the show she helps gives Abba fans, old and new, the opportunity to once again get together to relive the addictive Abba phenomenon which swept the airwaves and discos during the 1970s and 1980s in this truly feel good, party style concert.

"We do an authentic tribute to Abba and look at their 1977 and 1979 tour, they only ever did two tours," said Vikki , an avid Abba fan.

"We've incorporated those two concerts and selected the iconic video looks and greatest hits from the videos and singles. Choreography and costume wise we've studied their videos to get it just right.

"The Winner Takes it All was never done live as it didn't come out until 1980 so we give the fans the chance to hear the songs which weren't performed live by the group.

"People want to hear the greatest hits and we throw in a couple of obscure numbers Abba fans would know too."

She's been touring and playing the famous singer for 14 years.

"At the start it was difficult, but I've now been performing as her for a long time and by looking at video footage I've done the best I can to get it right.

"By listening and watching interviews we have to get the mannerisms and the singing and speaking voice perfected as well as getting their personality right within the band."

The fab four had massive success with hits including Knowing Me, Knowing You, Take A Chance on Me, Thank You for the Music, Voulez Vous and SOS and so many more chart busters.

"They are a band where generations still haven't tired of them," said Vikki, who lives in Tamworth in the Midlands. "Everyone has an Abba CD in their collection. Everyone has been brought up listening to their wonderful songs. They released timeless classics and with the Mamma Mia film and theatre show it's increased the awareness of Abba's music and how beautiful their songwriting skills are to a whole new audience."

Vikki performs alongside her partner Greg Stevenson who plays Benny.

"It's a hard job, but we love it and it's a way of life for us," she said.

"I do the choreography, stage direction and costumes and Greg is the musical director and does all the scenery. We work well together and don't have much time off.

"We are together 24/7 and get on really well as we have the same interests and we get paid for do something we love."

She's looking forward to returning to Torbay.

"We came to the area last year. It's beautiful especially when the sunshines," she said.

"I remember sitting on the green near the theatre and eating a picnic and looking out to sea. It was stunning."

The Abba Reunion show has a busy time ahead with a world tour planned.

"It's going to kick off with the London Palladium in the West End," she said excitedly.

"We're really excited about it and have lots of UK dates booked in."

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