Mama Mia! There’s an Abba restaurant
Fans sing with their supper in new Stockholm eatery
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.