May 18, 2016

Mamma Mia the Party! This Summer in English.

Press photo by Mats Bäcker for Tyrol
Today is my last day before my pre-summer vacation. I am off to recharge my batteries before the busy summer season! I will be back in mid June but if you are staying at the Rival Hotel during my absence, fear not... my colleagues will be on hand to help you. But before I go I thought I would leave you with a real fun article about "Mamma Mia the Party!".
"Mamma Mia the Party!", a dinner-show-party-experience, has been playing to sold out crowds here in Stockholm since January and during this time the show has been in Swedish. However they will be performing the show in English during late July and August this summer for the tourist season. Last week, during the Eurovision festival, they tested the English version to select audiences... including me!
Looks and feels like a Greek taverna...
Do I need to explain the phenomenon that is ABBA and the subsequent juggernaut musical (and then movie) "Mamma Mia!"? Probably not. The Party is the next step in the Mamma Mia story. The plot is pretty clever. Basically, the story takes place directly after the Mamma Mia movie has just wrapped filming on the Greek island of Skopelos. A Greek taverna, run by a local man and his new Swedish wife (who stayed on the island after the movie wrapped), has an ABBA themed show designed to bring in the tourists. The audience plays the part of diners at the taverna. The main plot of the story revolves around the owner's daughter and his new wife's son who are in love and being discouraged by their families. Romeo and Juliette part 2?
...complete with grandma watching from her balcony.
The first thing you notice when you arrive is the amazing design of the locale. It really looks like a Greek island taverna, complete with fountain, bougainvillea plants and tourist shops in a side alley. I have been in this locale many times before and, trust me, this is quite a feat as its' name is Tyrol and it usually resembles a Tyrolean bierstube! You are warmly greeted by the staff and led through the taverna to your table.
No Romeo & Juliette plot is complete without a balcony scene.
The cuisine is Greek of course and the food comes to the table family style with sharing plates. The first round consists of "snacks" like olives, tzatziki and hummus. The next round, the appetizers, consisted of classic dishes like calamaris and Greek salad. The main course was a platter of meat... lamb racks, sausages and grilled pork shish kebab as well as grilled vegetables. Finally coffee and dessert which was a vanilla panacotta with Greek honey.
Press photo by Mats Bäcker for Tyrol
During the time the food comes and goes... the show takes place all around the diners. It really doesn't matter where you are sitting, though the bulk of the action takes place around the fountain. There is audience participation, but it isn't as bad as it sounds. I was terrified that they were going to be pulling up people on stage. One diner got a lap dance from the chef and another was twirled by a waitress. The owner of the taverna did put me on the spot by asking if I was single (for his daughter). But that was the extent of it... otherwise it was mainly eye contact by the actors singing and dancing around the tables.
The show contains singing, dancing, drama and... acrobatics!
The evening ends with the taverna's ABBA show. Tables are moved to the side and a real disco party begins with the waitstaff and actors coming out in full ABBA regalia and belting out a medley of the super group's most well known songs. During the rest of the show, the songs are a mix of well known and lesser known ABBA songs (like "Kisses of Fire" and "I'm a Marionette"). It's a nice touch using the lesser known songs... ABBA does, after all, have an amazing back catalogue.
The disco party starts!
Mamma Mia the Party is located on the island of Djurgården, in the Gröna Lund amusement park, just a stone's throw from ABBA the Museum. In fact, you can purchase tickets that include entrance to the museum as well just in case you want the full ABBA experience! And speaking of tickets, they can be purchased online through their website. The English version takes place between July 27th to August 21st, otherwise it is in Swedish. At first I thought the price is a bit steep (1340 SEK), but you really do get a lot for the price (four course dinner, show and party). It is basically a similar price for a night out in Stockholm with dinner, theatre and nightclub.
Thank you for the music!
It is quite simple to get to the Party from the Rival Hotel. Just take the Djurgårds Ferry from nearby Gamla Stan. It is a ten minute trip and the ferry drops you off 25 meters from the entrance to the Party.
Press photo by Mats Bäcker for Tyrol

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