• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
My My! This is what Sweden's new Abba venue looks like
Sweden's Björn Ulvaeus. Photo: Mats Bäcker/Mamma Mia! The Party

My My! This is what Sweden's new Abba venue looks like

Emma Löfgren · 14 Jan 2016, 16:51

Published: 14 Jan 2016 16:51 GMT+01:00

It's -15C in Stockholm and the ground is covered in snow. But inside Nikos' Taverna, there's laughter, warmth, Greek food, singing and dancing. At least, that's what Björn Ulvaeus wants visitors to feel when they step into the world's next Abba-themed venue. 

It is part restaurant, part show and part role play, where guests can become the stars of their own version of their Greek paradise. As soon as visitors walk through the doors of they are greeted by waiting staff and actors playing characters in the interactive show. 

"It feels good. We're in good shape. We did a couple of previews last year, but next week is the first time since then we're going to do this in front of a real audience," Ulvaeus tells The Local while showing off his new attraction to Swedish and international media, ahead of its official public opening later this month.

You may ask how much it is possible to squeeze out of a Swedish pop quartet that won Eurovision back in 1974. But with the world falling in love with everything from acclaimed Mamma Mia! The Musical to big screen equivalent Mamma Mia! The Movie in 2008 and even Stockholm's Abba Museum, the well-oiled machine shows no sign of stopping. On Wednesday the curtains go up in the Swedish capital on Mamma Mia! The Party.

One of the new faces in the recreated taverna, only loosely based on its inspiration Mamma Mia! The Musical, is Konstantina – who helps her father Nikos out at the restaurant and is, we soon find out, apparently in love with a boy whom dad doesn't quite approve of – played by Swedish-Hungarian rising musical star Mercedesz Csampai.

"It is such great fun to finally be able to show people this. The music is wonderful, you can feel how much the audience loves it – I mean, it's Abba! I don't know what I enjoy the most about it, but my favourite song to perform is 'The Winner Takes It All'," she laughs.


The whole cast at Nikos' Taverna. Photo: Mats Bäcker/Mamma Mia! The Party

Decorated with olive trees, Mamma Mia memorabilia and a bar (which of course serves ouzo), the room is filled with tables all covered in blue-and-white table cloths. Let's just say that if you don't like the idea of vacationing in Greece – now's the time to back out.

"You will have an amazing three-course dinner, and get to take part in the whole show which starts when Nikos welcomes you at the door – or even at home when you get your ticket confirmation emailed to you," director Roine Söderlundh tells The Local.

That ticket he mentions costs 1,340 kronor ($157), something which has had some international fans complain that the night – on top of flights and hotel room in Stockholm – would set them back too much. Even so, the first few weeks of the party are long since sold out.

"I understand that when you just look at the price it's a lot," says Söderlundh. "But you also get a very generous dinner as well. It doesn't cost much more than dinner and theatre."


Mercedesz Csampai and Patrik Hont as Larry. Photo: Mats Bäcker/Mamma Mia! The Party

International fans may also have cause to worry about most of the dialogue being in Swedish – although the songs will be sung in English. But Söderlundh insists that the plot is straightforward enough to understand and reassures fans that actors will interact with non-Swedish speakers in English.

And Ulvaeus has a special treat in store, which he hinted at in an interview with The Local back when the project was first announced in April.

"We've started rehearsing for a version completely in English this summer. We're also going to do an English version during Eurovision week when all the tourists are here," he says.

Now, it is a fact universally acknowledged that you can't mention Eurovision Song Contest – heading to Stockholm in May – without talking about Abba. And you can't talk about Abba without mentioning fans' undying desire to see their beloved Swedish pop stars reunited on stage.

It's not going to happen, as has been repeated several times, but Ulvaeus has gone so far as to reveal that his three former Abba colleagues – Benny Andersson, Agnetha Fältskog and Anni-Frid Lyngstad – have all been invited to attend the gala premiere of Mamma Mia! The Party on January 20th.

Story continues below…

He is humble about the fact that a new generation of fans is likely to grow up knowing more about the Mamma Mia franchise than Abba themselves – but is not worried about their Swedish treasure of iconic pop hits like 'Waterloo' and 'Dancing Queen' being forgotten.

"I have heard about children who sing the Mamma Mia tunes and dance along to the movie and have a very diffuse idea of who Abba are. But maybe some of them will like it so much they go back to the original source. And we're still selling records, every year," he smiles.

Follow Emma Löfgren on Twitter for more pictures of Mamma Mia! The Party

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Emma Löfgren (emma.lofgren@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
Coeliac disease not caused by early weaning: Swedish study
Carin Andrén Aronsson now plans to investigate why Sweden has such high levels of coeliac disease. Photo: Polarbrod

Mothers who stop breastfeeding early are not to blame for their children developing gluten intolerance, a new Swedish study has found.

Zlatan look-a-like storms pitch as Man U take on champions
A grinning Zlatan pushed the man away with the palm of his hand. Photo: YouTube

Zlatan fever has hit the UK, with a look-a-like storming the pitch on Saturday only to be palmed off by the grinning Swedish football star.

Russian Sweden Democrat aide resigns over suspect deal
'Egor Putilov' had access to all areas of the Swedish parliament: Photo: Riksdag

A Russian-born political secretary for the Sweden Democrats has resigned after making six million kronor ($0.7m) in a property deal with a St Petersburg businessman.

Trump an 'embarrassment' Springsteen tells Sweden
Bruce Springsteen tells SVT talk show host that Trump is an 'embarrassment' to the US. Photo: SVT/Youtube

Rock legend Bruce Springsteen has described Donald Trump as an embarrassment to the United States, in an interview on Sweden's Skavlan talk show.

'World class' developer told to leave Sweden over admin slip
Software developer Tayyab Shabab. Photo: Private

Tayyab Shabab has a house, a job and pays tax in Sweden, but he has now been told he must leave within three weeks.

Police release men held over bomb threat on refugee home
Police officers outside the building. Photo: Robert Nyholm/TT

UPDATED: Two men arrested after a bomb threat was made against a home for refugees in Boden, northern Sweden, have been allowed to leave custody.

Embassy: No-go zones 'do not exist in Sweden'
Police on the Serbian-Hungarian border. Photo: Sofia Eriksson/TT

Sweden's embassy in Budapest has sharply rebuked Hungary after an official leaflet claimed that Stockholm and other European cities had become "no-go areas".

The Local List
Ten reasons why it's awesome being knocked up in Sweden
Being pregnant in Sweden can be pretty great. Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

US writer Lisa Ferland shares her top reasons why she thinks Sweden is wonderful for expecting mums.

The Local Recipe
Welcome in the autumn with this Swedish tiger cake
Tiger cake and coffee, the perfect combination. Photo: John Duxbury/Swedish Food

Fika: the best part of the day. Make this tiger cake and you'll keep everyone very happy.

Four arrested over Gothenburg riots
File photo of a Swedish police officer. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Four people have been arrested in connection with riots in a Gothenburg suburb this week.

Sponsored Article
Let's Talk: a personal Swedish language tutor in your pocket
National
Muslim teacher leaves job after not shaking male colleague's hand
Sponsored Article
‘I view the world in a different way now’
Travel
Why we adore autumn in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: September 21st
Blog updates

7 September

Svensk or svenska? (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hejsan! My inbox is full of questions :-). Here’s one about when to use “svensk” and…" READ »

 

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
'Creating a sense of home': Collective living in Stockholm
National
Stockholmers hunt killer badger after attack on neighbourhood hipster cat
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
The Local Voices
Why this Russian developer is committed to helping refugees - with tech
National
Six key points in Sweden's budget plan
The Local Voices
How a Swedish name finally made recruiters notice this Iranian's CV
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: 'So much more than beaches'
Gallery
Property of the week: Luleå
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 16th-18th
Culture
Why Swedish TV has given these kids' trucks a sex swap
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
National
TIMELINE: Everything you need to know about the Julian Assange case
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
People-watching: September 14th
Politics
Why Sweden is putting troops on holiday dream island Gotland
Sponsored Article
Retiring abroad: ensuring your health is covered
The Local Voices
'What I mean when I say: I came here to blow myself up'
Sponsored Article
'There was no future for me in Turkey'
Society
VIDEO: Are Swedes that unfriendly?
Sponsored Article
7 reasons you should join Sweden’s ’a-kassa’
Features
INTERVIEW: How Arthur the jungle dog opened hearts and minds
Gallery
Property of the week: Smögen, Västra Götaland
Society
Sweden's ancient forest tongue Elfdalian fights for survival
National
Where Sweden's foreigners are from
Gallery
People-watching: September 9th-11th
The Local Voices
Shakib, 23, works and pays taxes — but will Sweden let him stay?
National
Watch this Swede roll his kayak without spilling his beer. Respect.
Gallery
People-watching: September 7th
The Local Voices
'Swedes are polarized on refugees - it's the welcome mat or the exit door'
National
WATCH: Yes, this Swedish rising star really is Abba legend's grandson
The Local Voices
'Whenever I apply for jobs I’m treated like an unwanted stranger'
The Local Voices
Is Swedish bosses' ignorance keeping refugees out of jobs?
2,966
jobs available