A Week At The Theatre | ABBA Voyage, The Lion*, Lift.

A very musical week this week, including two trips to the Southwark Playhouse and an immersive concert experience. I did also get to see the We Will Rock You tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre with and thanks to Olivia at RewriteThisStory and her friend Charlotte (you can read Olivia’s review here .) This week’s outings included a trip to the Camden Roundhouse, a venue I hadn’t been to before to see Lorde perform her Solar Power tour, which was VERY exciting. And at the weekend, I squeezed in two theatre trips, 1 of which I’ll review next week. But the other was the final performance of Cock, which would’ve been my 7th trip to the show overall (and I didn’t have to break the bank in order to do so). But when you’ve got the power duo that is Jonathan Bailey and Marianne Elliott, I can’t resist.

Abba Voyage at Abba Arena, London.
Currently booking until: May 2023
Ticket link: https://abbavoyage.com/
Rating: 5/5

I have to preface this by saying that I did get to go to a dress rehearsal courtesy of work, which was super cool. Going into this, I really did not know what to expect. I wouldn’t even call myself a casual Abba fan, the only songs I really know of theirs are the ones in Mamma Mia. But let me tell you, this is truly something of an experience. The moment you enter, it’s like you’re in a condensed Abba inspired village. A couple of merch stands, some food stands (I had potato wedges which were banging), a huge champagne bar in the middle of the foyer. I also was (and still am) obsessed with this Abba Voyage water bottle that I bought. And I think I’ve been plugging this water bottle round my office more than the show itself.

My dad and I had dance floor tickets, which wasn’t too bad, we just moved towards the back and still had a great time. The technology that has been used in this production is truly incredible. Genuinely felt like the real Abba were performing in front of us. The show’s design, not just in the Abbatars or the staging, but in the somewhat immersiveness of the space was truly exquisite. There’s a couple of songs that use animation which was incredibly stunning and worth the ticket price alone. The set list was strong with a few new songs and absolute bangers. I really enjoyed that they had a 10 piece live band incorporated into the show, to really heighten the live experience. In addition, I thought it was good to have moments where the Abbatars did speak to the crowd, like they were really there. Overall, it was a really joyous experience to be singing along at the top of my lungs with 3000 thousand people to Abba. and it’s unlike anything on in London and perhaps the world. I sometimes feel like the word ‘groundbreaking’ gets thrown around a lot but this is really feels like it. Worth visiting at least the once.

The Lion at the Southwark Playhouse*
Booking until: 25th June, followed by runs in St Albans, Swindon, Norwich and Hayes in July 2022.
Ticket link: https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/the-little/the-lion/
Rating: 5/5

A stunning one man folk musical written by Benjamin Scheuer about his life and relationships. Starting off about his turbulent relationship with his father, the story moves into Benjamin moving to New York to become a musician to his battle with cancer. This is a truly heart warming and life affirming piece about survival. The score is absolutely beautiful and it’s really nice to hear something in musical theatre that is purely acoustic based. It really added to the intimacy of the show and is a perfect show for the Little space at the Southwark Playhouse. The set design by Simon Kenny was really well done and made the audience feel like they were watching a guitar playing singer in the back of a bar. The show is performed by Max Alexander-Taylor who delivers a tour-de-force of a performance that is so moving, he made me cry several times. It’s a truly star making performance and I cannot wait to see him in more things. The way he can hold the audience in the palm of his hand and really believably tell a story is just pure magical.

I would highly, highly recommend this absolutely stunning show. If you need something to make you believe in life again, this is certainly one for you. I would also recommend this if you’re after a good cry, because it worked really well for me in that way. Do not miss.

Lift at the Southwark Playhouse
Booking until: 18th June 2022
Ticket link: https://www.southwarkplayhouse.co.uk/show-homepage/lift/
Rating: 4/5

Lift is a musical centred around an unnamed busker who writes songs and creates scenarios about the people he meets in a lift in Covent Garden station in a way to deal with the breakdown of his relationship. I remember the original production at the Soho Theatre being around at the time but I never got a chance to see it, so was glad to see this revival which I really enjoyed.

The plot itself does take a while to get used to and it isn’t really until towards the end when I fully understood what the point of the show was. But the incredibly talented 8 piece tight knit ensemble with their powerful vocals are a real joy to watch that you can’t help but be invested. I really appreciated the production design by Andrew Exeter for this, the neon lighting really enhanced the moods of the scenes as they played out. I also thought Annie Southall’s choreography made the piece pop as well.

This is quite a unique British musical with such a brilliant cast, would definitely recommend doing a double bill at the Southwark Playhouse alongside The Lion too.

Until next time!

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