Mama Mia! There’s an Abba restaurant

Fans sing with their sup­per in new Stock­holm eatery

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE - JAN MOIR

ABBA fans haven’t lived un­til they’ve heard I Have A Dream played to a Greek bouzouki beat and tasted an Ab­batas­tic pud­ding called The Ouzo Flavoured Se­molina Dream.

And they haven’t re­ally danced un­til they’ve danced to Danc­ing Queen in a fake bougainvil­lea-swagged Greek tav­erna in the mid­dle of an amuse­ment park on an is­land in down­town Stock­holm.

This is the home of Mamma Mia! The Party, the lat­est smash hit ven­ture from for­mer band mem­ber Bjorn Ul­vaeus on be­half of the Abba team.

First there was the band it­self, whose pop hits gar­landed the 1970s and made stars of the Swedish group.

Then came Abba the mu­si­cal ( Mamma Mia!), pur­sued by Abba the even more un­likely film ver­sion, star­ring Meryl Streep as a hote­lier on a Greek is­land who didn’t know which of three men had fa­thered her child.

Now there’s Abba the restaurant, a Scandi- Hel­lenic in­spired hum­mus and hits the­atri­cal ex­pe­ri­ence that is tak­ing Swe­den by storm – and is on its way to other coun­tries.

“Ev­ery­one seems pos­i­tive,” Ul­vaeus said. “We just need to get the fi­nal go-ahead.”

He said the in­spi­ra­tion came when he no­ticed that peo­ple were in a party mood while watch­ing the Abba mu­si­cal or film, but that there was nowhere for them to go af­ter­wards.

“There are no clubs, no noth­ing for peo­ple of that age group if they want to party,” he said.

So he cooked up an ex­tra­or­di­nary four-hour ex­trav­a­ganza; an evening that pro­vides din­ner, a show with live mu­sic and then a disco.

The evening’s con­ceit is that the au­di­ence is sup­posed to be cus­tomers din­ing at Nikos Tav­erna on the Greek is­land of Skope­los, where the Mamma Mia film was made.

The plot line is that Kicki was work­ing on the film but stayed behind to marry Nikos and help him run his tav­erna. Busi­ness wasn’t do­ing so well, so she sug­gested hold- ing Abba-themed nights to bring in the pun­ters.

Just like the orig­i­nal Mamma Mia!, the sto­ry­line is told through Abba songs, with as many of them as pos­si­ble threaded on to this gi­ant ke­bab of meaty pop de­lights.

Mamma Mia! The Party opened 18 months ago in Stock­holm and has been play­ing to full houses ever since.

It would seem the world sim­ply can­not get enough of Abba mu­sic, and even Ul­vaeus is at a loss to ex­plain why.

“I don’t know what it is, it is an enigma to me why these songs keep com­ing back.

“When we wrote and recorded them, we thought they might last two years. We didn’t ex­pect this af­ter 35 years.’

The band split in 1982, and have sold over 375 mil­lion records.

To­day, Ul­vaeus is per­haps richer than many small coun­tries. He lives on a pri­vate is­land in the Stock­holm archipelago, loves his fam­ily (a fa­ther of four, he is married to Swedish rock jour­nal­ist Lena Kaller­sjo).

He does not need the fame, the money or the ag­gra­va­tion of producing an am­bi­tious new stage show that he wants to take to Lon­don and eventually around the world.

So why is he do­ing it? Be­cause it is fun!’ he cried. “I am 72 years old and I am only do­ing things I think are fun.” – Daily Mail

Abba in their hey­day. Abba the restaurant, a Scandi-Hel­lenic in­spired hum­mus and hits the­atri­cal ex­pe­ri­ence is tak­ing Swe­den by storm – and is on its way to other coun­tries.

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