• Sweden's news in English

Singing your way to the campest, jolliest night around

25 Apr 2012, 14:16

Published: 25 Apr 2012 14:16 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Passive entertainment is, we are told, passé.

In the age of "Idol" and "Let’s Dance", we no longer simply sit spellbound by the romantic stars of stage and screen.

Rather, we in the audience now control the outcome of TV shows with televotes, choose alternative film endings, or bare our insecurities (and much else besides) for a prime time audience in any of a plethora of reality television shows -- many of which leave something to be desired.

But for those of us who can resist the call of exhibitionist television, there’s still a nagging desire to be part of the action.

This might perhaps be the reason for the phenomenal success of the Singalong Sound of Music, which has been playing around the world since 1999 and has been playing in cinemas around Sweden for exactly ten years this year.

The Singalong is, in essence, what it sounds like – an audience sitting in front of a cinema screen, singing along to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s classic 1965 film starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer.

But this really doesn’t cover the half of it.

It’s also a joke-along, play-along, dress-along – even dance-along – evening of racuous entertainment.

The British have a word for this: camp. Musicals - particularly those involving nuns, cuckoo clocks, clothes made out of curtains, naughty Nazi messenger boys and lederhosen - are camp by definition. Somehow, though, this format manages to make it camper.

The campness is exacerbated by the fact that the evening is very ritualized.

You sit down, stand up, sing, recite lines at appointed junctures. In its way it’s like a slightly-more-than-usually kitsch and remarkably boisterous Catholic mass - with a full complement of nuns, of course.

It’s probably fair to say that most members of the congregation are far from recent converts, but there is help on hand for the newly evangelized.

The high priest of the evening is an Englishman - dressed for the occasion as an Austrian - David Lones. His opening gambit it to tell you to forget everything you have ever been taught about how to behave when watching a film.

But by this point such instructions are almost superfluous. The stream of male nuns and students dressed in floral curtains should have already disabused anyone who thought they were turning up for a night of charming vintage cinema.

For all the silliness, it’s actually vaguely complicated. There are detailed instructions about what to shout at the screen when various characters enter.

The chaste but feisty Maria gets a ‘hurrah’, the catty baronness gets a ‘meow’. You even get a little goody bag full of props, to be used at various high points of the evening.

Perhaps it’s the instructions, with their Ikea-like level of complexity, that make the Swedes love the Singalong Sound of Music so much (it has been more successful here than nearly anywhere else).

Maybe it’s just the fact that this is a country that loves communal singing. It’s certainly a chance to enjoy a beautiful classic film in a beautiful old cinema – although in a slightly unconventional format.

Story continues below…

But the thing is - they’re onto something. If you want an evening out that leaves you talking spontaneously to the person sitting next to you, that has you screaming with laughter, that leaves your head buzzing with endorphins and your throat hoarse with singing, then there really is nothing like it.

After two raucous performances this spring, producer Lones has promised this season's third and final Stockholm show on Wednesday, May 30th at Stockholm's regal Skandia cinema.

So whether you're a seasoned Singalong veteran, a die hard Sound of Music fan, or simply looking for another reason to dust off that nun costume tucked away in your closet, be sure to catch the show before it once again says "So Long, Farewell" to the Swedish capital.

It will almost soon be something you count among your "favourite things".

James Savage

Follow James Savage on Twitter

Related links:

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
The unique story of Stockholm's floating libraries
The Stockholm archipelago book boat. Photo: Roger Hill.

Writer Roger Hill details his journeys on the boats that carry books over Stockholm's waterways and to its most remote places.

Refugee crisis
Second Stockholm asylum centre fire in a week
The new incident follows a similar fire in Fagersjö last week (pictured). Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Police suspect arson in the blaze, as well as a similar incident which occurred last Sunday.

More misery for Ericsson as losses pile up
Ericsson interim CEO Jan Frykhammar presenting its third quarter results. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

The bad news just keeps coming from the Swedish telecoms giant.

Facebook 'sorry' for removing Swedish cancer video
A computer displaying Facebook's landing page. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

The social media giant had censored a video explaining how women should check for suspicious lumps in their breasts.

Watch this amazing footage of Sweden’s landscapes
A still from the aerial footage of Sweden. Photo: Nate Summer-Cook

The spectacular drone footage captures both Sweden's south and the opposite extreme, thousands of kilometres north.

Sweden could be allowed to keep border controls: EU
Police ID checks at Hyllie station in southern Sweden. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT

Sweden could be allowed to keep ID controls on its border with Denmark beyond the current end date of November, following discussions among EU leaders in Brussels last night.

Why women in Sweden will work for free by November
File photo of a woman working in a Swedish office. Photo: Anders Willund/TT

A new study into the gender pay gap suggests Sweden still has some work to do.

Look familiar? Meet your jawbone's ancestor
Thank God for evolution, eh?

There's something fishy about the human jawbone – it has its origins in the placodermi, a jowly species of fish that lived 400 million years ago, Swedish and Chinese researchers say.

Isis claims unremarked arson attack in Malmö
The arson attack took place on Norra Grängesbergsgatan in Malmö. File photo: Emil Langvad/TT

An arson attack in Malmö that caused only minor damage and was barely reported in the media has been claimed by terror group Isis.

How to make autumnal Swedish apple cake
Photo: SwedishFood.com

This tasty cake is an autumn staple in Swedish cafés. Why not make it yourself!

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Here's where it could snow in central Sweden this weekend
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden's 'a-kassa'
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
People-watching: October 12th
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
People-watching: October 7th-9th
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
Missing rune stone turns up in Sweden
Nobel Prize 2016: Chemistry
jobs available