ABBA Mania Takes it All

Alison Ward and Amy Edwards performing in ABBA Mania at the Uptown Theater in Kansas City. Photo credit: Josh Chaikin

“Thank You for the Music,” this was the sentiment shared, not just from an energetic audience, but also the band, who thanked the Swedish icons, in a fourth-wall breaking moment at the end of their set. Pop hits filled the Uptown Theater on Sunday night, in a set which ran over a little more than 2 hours, with a 15 minute intermission.

A diverse crowd filled the Uptown to a little more than half capacity, with music lovers of all ages in attendance. People who had grown up with the music, as well as a younger crowd, whose interest was likely sparked by the movie musical, Mama Mia.

When a musical performance like this is done, there are a few approaches; the jukebox musical can be done, as in the case of Mama Mia, one where a band simply plays covers of the songs, without narrative device (like so many Pink Floyd tribute acts), or a band can simply become the performers themselves; this is what ABBA Mania has done, referring to each other as Agnetha, Frida, Bjorn, and Benny. It’s a fun bit of fantasy, though knowing the names of the performers, if only from a Playbill, would be nice. Though, this does present some complications; Agnetha refers to Benny as her husband, though Winner takes it All was about their divorce. But, this is nit-picking.

Allison Ward (Agnetha), and Amy Edwards (Frida), demonstrated their talents through the show; apart from strong vocals, choreography was checkered throughout their performances, and their enthusiasm was infectious.

ABBA Mania opens appropriately with the song that won them the Eurovision song contest, Waterloo, with costumes very much inspired by what the band was wearing during that performance, which was a very nice touch.

The band would plow through a collection of hits, with a small introduction to each song, like inviting us to snuggle with the person next to us (even a stranger), before Fernando.

With the original line-up of ABBA retired from touring, and their upcoming run of avatar concerts being out of reach for most of us, ABBA Mania is a wonderful excursion for those who still want to experience the hits live. Amy Edwards, Alison Ward, James Allen, and Jeff Pike, don’t just play the hits, but they become ABBA. So, take a chance on them. They’re worth it.

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Set list: Waterloo, Voulez-Vous, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Mamma Mia, Ring Ring, Money, Money, Money, I’ve Been Waiting for You, Fernando, I have a Dream Take a Chance on Me, Lay all Your Love on e, The Name of the Game, Chiquitita, The Winner takes it all, SOS, Super Trouper, Does your Mother Know, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, Dancing Queen

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