A singer who honed her musical skills singing Abba tunes as a youngster will be bringing the Swedish band’s top tunes from the West End to North Wales.
Vikki Holland-Bowyer will be taking to the stage at Theatr Colwyn as Abba’s brunette curly-haired singer Frida Lyngstad in a tribute to the band that has shaped her life.
The Abba Reunion Tribute Show on May 13 at the historic century-old theatre in Colwyn Bay’s Abergele Road will see a magical night packed full of hits from the band.
The foursome topped the charts in the 1970s, clocking up more than 70 singles from their breakthrough Eurovision winning track Waterloo to Mamma Mia, Super Trouper, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Dancing Queen and Thank You For The Music.
Joining her on stage will be real life partner Greg Stevenson, who plays Benny Andersson, Adam Evans as Björn Ulvaeus and Vikki Gordon as blonde singer Agnetha Fältskog.
Vikki has previously performed as Frida in London’s West End with show Abbamania, which she co-produced and directed – although she had always dreamed as appearing as Agnetha.
She said: “I have always loved Abba with a passion. I saw Abba: The Movie when I was a child, aged about eight, and that was it – I was hooked. My sister and I would pretend to be Frida and Agnetha and would sing all the Abba songs in front of a mirror with a hairbrush for a microphone.
“I really wanted to go to stage school but being one of four, money was a bit tight and I ended up joining cover bands that performed a lot of soul and Motown stuff, which didn’t really suit me.
“When I started performing in Abba tribute bands I played Agnetha mainly because my hair was blonde. But I realised, when I began seriously, that my voice was really more Frida’s range. So I dyed my hair brown and changed roles.”
She says the shows now are as close as the four performers can get to Abba’s acclaimed 1977-79 tour.
“There are hundreds of Abba tribute bands out there but no one puts so much into ensuring it’s as authentic as we do,” said Vikki.
“Both myself and the other Vicki spend hour after hour watching Abba videos to perfect the moves, facial expressions, voices and how they interact with each other. But it’s a labour of love.
“I wanted to create something special, so 12 years ago I formed the Abba Reunion Tribute Show along with the three others plus bass player Steve Djurovich and drummer Colin Codd. Since then we’ve played all over the world, and I have had a wonderful career performing as Frida.
“Our show is all about the major hits, and if the audience wants to join in and sing with us that’s fine.
“We aren’t just singers on stage – we are actors. I would never move or act like Frida in real life it just wouldn’t be what I would do. We even use a Swedish accent when speaking on stage. In Sweden they thought our accents weren’t too bad, although perhaps more Norwegian than Swedish.”
She added: “We are looking forward to playing in Colwyn Bay as we’ve not been there before, although our show has been performed in a lot of places. We have performed on cruise ships, which we always enjoy, and we have been to most European countries, including Sweden, and performed in some African countries too.
“But perhaps the strangest place we have performed was Mongolia, a place where health and safety simply doesn’t exist.
“We have pyrotechnics as part of the show especially with the big Waterloo finale. I looked down on stage and they had fireworks wired together and shoved into empty soft drink cans! I couldn’t say much and to be fair it all went off OK but I was dreading it.
“And we had a strange experience in India – we all decided to go for a swim in the sea and lots of local guys started wading out, fully clothed to take out pictures and ask for autographs. We had a really difficult job explaining that we weren’t the actual Abba and they were very much older and in any case had disbanded!”
Performing as Frida isn’t Vikki’s only musical persona – she also stars an 80s tribute show as Cyndi Lauper and Madonna plus others singers from the decade, and is also working on a Carpenters tribute show.
Vikki added: “You have to get everything absolutely right, the voice, actions, the way they move, otherwise it doesn’t feel right.
“I’m so looking forward to visiting Colwyn Bay and putting on a real show for Abba fans. If you like Abba get a ticket and come and enjoy the closest thing you will ever get to the real thing!”
Anna Openshaw, project manager for Colwyn BID, a business regeneration group tasked with boosting trade in Colwyn Bay, Rhos on Sea, Old Colwyn and Mochdre, says she delighted to see shows such as the Abba Reunion Tribute Show coming to the town.
She said: “It’s a great show, not just for tourists and visitors to Colwyn Bay but for local people too. This is a real quality show put together by a singer, producer and choreographer who has worked in London’s West End.
“Theatr Colwyn has great deal to offer the town and area and by bringing in quality productions such as this to the town it’s helping raise awareness of just what a gem the theatre is in Colwyn Bay’s crown.”
* Abba Reunion Tribute Show, Theatr Colwyn in Colwyn Bay, May 13. Tickets theatrcolwyn.co.uk, 01492 872000