Creator and Entertainer, Lynelle Leighton who also plays ABBA member Agnetha talks about her passion and love for ABBA and ABBALIVE. – Kim, Editor
As the creator of ABBALIVE, where did the journey/inspiration/passion come from?
ABBA were my favourite group from the age of 6. Their music helped me develop as a musician. About 16 years ago I was musical director for an Elvis tribute show, and on a night off I went to see an ABBA show in Brisbane. I never imagined anyone would be able to do a tribute to them because in my eyes they were Gods and no one could do them justice. I was horrified when I saw the show (mind you I would have been their toughest critic!) The harmonies, choreography, costumes were all incorrect and they were swearing on stage and everything was very cheesy and just seemed to make fun of my favourite group. I felt very upset that they would portray my idols in such a way and vowed then and there to put together my OWN ABBA show to pay them the respect they deserved, and to show audiences how truly amazing they were. And here we are 15 years later!
I read that you hand make each costume, tell us about this process, how many costumes does ABBALIVE have?
Yes I have made 90 percent of the costumes. I firstly study the original costumes as carefully as I can online, in books, and on their videos and live footage, to get every detail correct. Then I try to find a basic pattern as close to the costume as I can find and adapt it. The time consuming part is the sequins and decorations which are all sewed on by hand. I had never done sewing before I began the show so I was asking my Mum a lot of questions along the way! Now it is mainly maintenance and repairs. We would have about 6 costume sets.
This show has been going since 2003 and you still love the songs, what would be your favourite and why?
I would have to say I love most of the songs, but the most meaningful and challenging song to me is The Winner Takes It All. It really is the “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” anthem of the show, and it has been my favourite for many years. I can’t even to this day listen to the original without getting a tear in my eye. It is a masterpiece and very moving.
If you were lucky enough to meet ABBA one day, what would you want them to know?
That has been a dream of mine my whole life! I would just want them to know how much their music has meant to me my whole life – it has brought me joy and comfort throughout the years. And I would want them to know how we as a group have tried to honour them and their music to the best of our ability.
What can the audience expect if they come to your show?
They can expect a really fun night reliving the wonderful memories of their childhood with about 30 ABBA tunes presented as closely as possible to how the original group were live in concert. The songs are ordered chronologically and we recreate the 3 major tours of ABBA, 75, 77, 79. The band members are some of Australia’s finest musicians – our bassist played with the Mamma Mia musical when it first appeared on London’s West End and was put together by Benny and Bjorn. Our drummer is from Boston, And has worked with the likes of Lionel Ritchie, Tavares and Aerosmith. Oh, and they can expect to be singing ABBA songs for at least a week afterwards 🙂
Saturday, February 24
Doors Open 7pm – Show starts at 8pm
$20 Members – $25 Non Members
Tickets available at the RSL reception
Hervey Bay RSL