Mamma Mia! Waterloo hits The Maltings

IF you're at a loose end next Saturday you might want to 'take a chance' on Waterloo: The Music of ABBA Live.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 2:21 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 2:21 pm

The group are in the middle of a nationwide tour and are calling at The Maltings on October 9 after going down so well with the dancing queens and super troupers of Berwick last November.

The music of ABBA is still enjoyed the world over and the likes of 'Mamma Mia', 'Fernando', 'Knowing Me Knowing You' and of course 'Waterloo' will be given an airing next week.

And who better to let you know 'the name of the game' than the show's very own Bjorn, Ben Peachey.

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Ben has been involved with 'Waterloo' right from the start after graduating from drama school and although he has been writing his own material and performing in bands since the age of 15, he has no regrets about taking the ABBA option.

"When I got the call to audition from the producer of the show, Michael Courtney, I had just come out of three years at drama school and was still finding my feet.

"Before going to drama school I'd always played the guitar and sung and I continued to do so during the course but the school also gave me a good grounding in musical theatre and 'Waterloo' sounded like it could give me the best of both worlds.

"I was lucky enough to be given the job and it was great to be involved with 'Waterloo' from the beginning.

"The original cast all knew we were onto something good and you can't really go wrong with the music of ABBA!

"The most obvious thing that sets us apart from other ABBA-inspired acts is that we have six members.

"I'm the Bjorn, then we've got David Ribi (Benny), Agnetha (Rachel Grundy), Frida (Lauren Fox) and two tgreat backing vocalists Lorna Amy Sullivan and Jamie Lee Pike.

"Other tributes rely on backing tracks to beef up the sound on stage but every sound we make on stage is live, so even if they hear a wrong note the audience know that they are getting the real deal."

But does the fact that 'Waterloo' have tweeked the original ABBA formula go down well with fans of the Swedish supergroup?

Well Ben seemed to think so.

"We always try and make ourselves available at the end of shows so people can come and have a chat with us and let us know what they thought.

"So far all the feedback we've had has been great.

"We stick to the original in the fact that we use the same song structures and classic sound but we make things slightly faster to keep the energy levels up throughout the show."

Another thing that makes 'Waterloo' different to other ABBA tributes is that they don't pretend to be the original band members, which means there won't be any dodgy Swedish accents floating around The Maltings next Saturday - at least not on stage anyway!

Ben continued: "On stage we are completely ourselves, this allows us to interact with the audience how we want to.

"We don't try and do a Swedish accent which means that during the show the audience can concentrate on the great music rather than listening out for flaws in our Swedish.

"The song that gives me and David the best chance to get the audience going is 'Does Your Mother Know'.

"We normally have a chat with them before we start, find out some of their names, if there's anyone with a birthday etc and then by the end of the song everyone is usually on their feet and out of breath; it's a real turning point in the show I think.

"The ones you'd expect the audience to react well to- 'Mamma Mia', 'Dancing Queen', 'Thank You For The Music' always go down well and because we are singing and playing live you can kid yourself for a moment that they are in fact your songs.

"Watching people sing them back to you gives you a brilliant feeling."

If you want to give your vocal chords a workout get your tickets now for 17.50/16.50 concessions.