REVIEW: Arrival: The Hits Of Abba at the Georgian Theatre Royal

Arrival, one of the myriad of ABBA tribute acts out there, had the sold-out aisles full of dancing queens (and Kings!) at the Georgian Theatre Royal on Thursday evening.

It was a wonderfully effervescent and energetic show by a band who successfully transferred their love for all things ABBA, to the audience.

The opening hits got the crowd on their feet, singing along to the likes of Name of the Game and SOS with Waterloo as their opener – as it should be, bearing in mind it was the record that really launched the four-piece onto the world. Throughout the show both lead singers – Agnetha and Frida – did more instantly recognisable costume changes than ABBA had chart-toppers.

Also, a really effective added element was the back-drop, which showed video footage of Arrival playing out scenes from the real band’s collection. OK, cheesy in the extreme, but a lovely little touch.

The boys – Benny and Bjorn – bore absolutely no resemblance to the real writers of ABBA’s illustrious catalogue, but who cared? Bjorn’s blonde hairpiece was worth the entrance money alone and bearded Benny, the pianist, looked more like a Greek taverna owner. The girls on the other hand were pretty accurately depicted and both could more than hold a tune.

Whether tribute acts should look like their heroes depends on your personal preference, but it made precious little difference to this show.

The band rocketed through all the major hits – Fernando, Dancing Queen, Money Money Money, Does Your Mother Know, Voulez-Vous, before we got a breather after nearly an hour.

Interaction between band and audience was excellent as Agnetha chatted throughout about ABBA’s timeless music.

After the break the audience really started to get in the swing and the strength of the songs had everyone on their feet. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, The Winner Takes It All, Super Trouper and Mamma Mia were brilliantly done.

Arrival asked the Georgian Theatre Royal to raise the roof for the own social media pages and just before the end Agnetha thanked the audience before delivering the finale with Thank You For The Music, a fitting end to a memorable night.

After four decades ABBA released some new songs this summer, one of which is a Scandinavian noir lament entitled, I Still Have Faith In You.

We still have faith that ABBA remain a timeless part of the pop music genre. Rarely, if ever, has a band delivered so much to so many and Arrival reminded us that Bjorn and Benny, Agnetha and Anni-Frid will always be with us, forever.