Review by Anina-Marie
My, my how can I resist you? You can’t! Resistance is futile. The Ultimate ABBA Experience is irresistible. From the moment the curtains part and the music starts in Lynch & Paterson’s latest extravaganza the audience is transported to a magical ABBA wonderland. Dazzling costumes, dreamy voices, delicious dancers and delectable music; this show has it all.
Directed and Choreographed by Maureen Bowra, The Ultimate ABBA Experience takes the audience on a musically inspired journey through the most memorable songs from ABBA’s discography. Maureen’s direction and choreography is inspired; every sequence is perfectly designed to conjure a spectacular visual. Maureen, along with assistant choreographer Luke Woodrow, craft a precise and professional display of dance; encapsulating the iconic energy of ABBA’S infectious music.
With Design from the fabulous David Lawrence, this show is gorgeous. The costumes are immaculate, featuring all the iconic looks – sequins, flares and pops of colour. The design can best be described as disco fever with extra pizazz. The overarching theme (as narrated by David Lawrence) creates an effective framework that guides the audience through all the ups and downs of ABBA’s music. Reminiscing on the very personal impact their music has made on him, David’s story challenges each and every audience member to reflect on their own memories.
Multiple disco balls dangle from the ceiling; a centrepiece of the ingenious design of this show. The Lighting Design by Tom Dodds (Show Hire Australia) is absolutely stunning; one of the standout elements of this production. Bright, colourful lights guide the audience from song to song, reflecting the mood completely. All flawlessly executed by Lighting Operator Ross Ritchie.
The Sound Design by Ben Murray (PQI Technologies) is wonderful; supporting the orchestra, singers and dancers to deliver a marvellous performance. Here and there, the microphone volume seems to have been queued slightly late causing the beginning of the vocals to be inaudible. A minor technical detail sure to be ironed out as the season progresses.
The music is the absolute star of this show. In his role as Musical Director, Conductor and Arranger, Lucas D Lynch is the very pillar of this production. Lucas showcases his immense musicality, playing ABBA’s iconic piano riffs with vigour and conducting the orchestra simultaneously. Lucas’s passion, talent and skill shines through. The success of this production rests on the shoulders of excellent musicians – each and every member of the fabulous Cadenza Chamber Players gives a performance worthy of endless applause. The orchestra, under Lucas’s superb direction, is simply astonishing. Bravo!
Singing these iconic songs are six wonderful vocalists: Ellen Tuffley, Jess Purdy, Samantha Paterson, Michael Nunn, Nate Stevenson and Simon Chamberlain. Each one unique and each one highly skilled. The vocals are impeccable from beginning to end; featuring stunning harmonies and breathtaking solo performances that never miss a note.
Jess Purdy has a most melodious voice, delivering stunning vocals that set her apart. Along with her beautiful smile and infectious energy, Jess’s performance is an absolute joy to experience. Ellen Tuffley hits her low notes with a seductive energy and has a belt that is to die for. Ellen’s animated facial expressions give her a cheeky stage presence that is engaging and draws the audience in.
Samantha Paterson is undoubtedly one of the standout performers of this show. Along with producing and arranging the vocals for the production, Samantha delivers a rendition of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ that is hauntingly beautiful; tugging at the heartstrings of every member in the audience. Her performance earned her a much-deserved standing ovation before the first act of the show was even out. Bravo!
Michael Nunn is an energetic performer who sings with passion and skill. Michael’s strength lies in his sense of rhythm and character, building the world of the show even when there is no plot. Nate Stevenson has a gorgeous voice that resonates melodiously through the space. His performance is seductive and sensual.
Another standout vocal performance is delivered by the marvellous Simon Chamberlain. Simon is a vocalist of immense skill, hitting some crazy notes with absolute precision. Simon’s performance is jaw droppingly perfect.
No review of this show would be complete without mentioning the four sensational dancers that take the stage with such infectious energy. Luke Woodrow, Jennifer B Ashley, Daniel Terribile and Chloe Kiloh are simply stunning. Not only do these dancers never miss a beat, they tell the story with their faces; a wonderful, vibrant performance from each and every one of them from start to finish.
Lynch & Paterson’s disco extravanganza The Ultimate ABBA Experience is a show that absolutely everyone in Brisbane should see. This production is polished and professional; every detail is meticulously designed and delivered. Six stunning vocalists and four passionate dancers take the audience on an unforgettable journey through ABBA’s iconic music with the aid of a marvellous orchestra. It is infectious. It is irresistible. It is simply outstanding. Bravo!
The Ultimate ABBA Experience will play at The Twelth Night Theatre until Saturday 21 May. Do not miss out on this show, get your tickets now.