• Sweden's news in English
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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Swedish PM visits Iraq for talks on Isis
Stefan Löfven (left) and Haider al-Abadi (right). Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Stefan Löfven will discuss the offensive on Mosul with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi.

Illicit abattoir kept more than 100 bulls' penises
A couple of young bulls not related to the story. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Dried cattle genitalia, goats' heads and hundreds of litres of lard were just a few of the many strange finds discovered when police raided a property in Sweden.

This is officially Sweden's most beautiful beard
The most beautiful beard in Sweden. Photo: Memo Göcek

According to a jury of barbers and 'well known bearded profiles', that is.

Presented by Invest Stockholm
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm

You might think it’s hard to make friends in a new city. But if at first you don’t succeed – try something else!

Injured Swedish photographer protected by 'guardian angel'
Swedish photographer Paul Hansen on another occasion. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Photographer Paul Hansen thanked his lucky stars for surviving sniper fire while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

How Sweden is trying to smooth relations with Saudis
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven meeting Saudi Arabia's Trade Minister Majid bin Abdullah Al Qasabi. Photo: Henrik Montgomery/TT

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has visited Saudi Arabia a year and a half after relations turned frosty in a major diplomatic row.

My Swedish Career
'Swedish people love it, but they find it quite odd'
Scottish entrepreneur William Macdonald. Photo: Michael Campanella

Meet the web developer and entrepreneur using traditional Scottish ceilidh dancing to break the ice with Swedes.

Swedish photographer shot near Mosul
Hansen was being operated on in the Iraqi city of Erbil on Sunday. Photo: Nora Lorek/ TT

Paul Hansen, a photographer working for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter, has sustained light injuries after being hit by what appears to be a sniper while covering the battle for the Isis-held city of Mosul in Iraq.

Trollhättan remembers school attack victims
'It was an attack on all of Sweden,' Education Minister Gustav Fridolin said. Photo: Thomas Johansson/ TT

Hundreds of people on Saturday turned out for a torchlight procession in the small town of Trollhättan in southwestern Sweden to honour the victims of last year’s deadly school attack there.

Sweden wants emission- free cars in EU by 2030
Photo: Jessica Gow/ TT

Sweden's environment minister on Saturday urged the European Union to ban petrol and diesel-powered vehicles from 2030.

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
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
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
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
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
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