Abba - The Reunion

(aka Super Troupers DVD)

Louise Gold appeared, along with the rest of what was probably Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3, as Tanya in a clip of Rich Manís World, first screened on ITV1 on 21 September 2004, repeated on ITV2 on 20 December 2004.

 

Appearances By... Featuring

Pete Waterman (as Narrator)

 

Anni-Frid ďFridaĒ Lyngstad (Pop Star)

Bjorn Ulvaeus (Pop Star & Songwriter)

Benny Andersson (Pop Star & Songwriter)

Agnetha Faltskog (Ex Pop Star)

 

Martin Koch(Musical Director for Mamma Mia)

 

 Appearances By ... Also Include:

Louise Gold (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Casts 2 & 3, playing Tanya)

Kim Ismay (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Casts 5 & 6, playing Tanya)

Siobanhn McCarthy (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 1, playing Donna Sheridan)

Lara Mulcahy (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 6, playing Rosie)

Lesley Nicol (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Casts 2 & 3, playing Rosie)

Vivien Parry (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 6, playing Donna Sheridan)

Louise Plowright (as a member of Mamma Mia London Production Casts 1, 2 & 3, also 4 & 5, playing Donna Sheridan in Casts 2 & 3, also 4 & 5, playing Tanya in Cast 1)

Most Of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 1

The Rest of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3

The Rest Of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 6 (including: Alexandra Jay, Jamie Wilkin, Marcus DíAmico, Dean Stobbart, Robert Hands, Dale Rapley, Kieran Jay, Louise Raven, and, Kelly Price)

Members of various Mamma Mia castís from around the world.

 

Production Team

Producer - Chris Hunt

Executive Producer - Judy Craymer

 

In addition to ABBAís own performances, this documentary featured clips of various Mamma Mia casts performing the ABBA songs. Louise Gold appeared along with Lesley Nicol and the rest of what was probably Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3 led by Louise Plowright in a clip of Rich Manís World.

Note, the Mamma Mia Cast 6 Dynamos continued to fulfil that role for Cast 7.

Judy Craymer of course is the producer of the musical Mamma Mia.

Bjorn Ulvaeus also appeared speaking to camera on A Week In The West End, as did Judy Craymer and the Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3 Dymanos (Louise Plowright, Louise Gold, and Lesley Nicol), and featured several excerpts of Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3 in action (including some of them performing Rich Manís World).

ABBA (Anni-Frid Lingstad, Bjorn Ulvaeus, Benny Andersson, and, Agnetha Faltskog) themselves, as well as Judy Cramer also feature in ABBA Ė The Mamma Mia! Story, as does some footage of both the Mamma Mia Original London Cast, and the Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3 (with Dynamos: Louise Plowright, Louise Gold, and, Lesley Nicol), this was also first broadcast on ITV1.

Mamma Mia London Production Cast 2 had appeared on Jim Davidson Presents (performing Dancing Queen).

Martin Koch had previously been MD on The Pirates of Penzance, including The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Performance), The Pirates Of Penzance (Gala Preview), The Pirates Of Penzance (Benefit Preview), and The Royal Variety Performance (1982).

Dale Rapley has appeared on stage in Lady Into Fox and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

The Ghost Of Faffner Hall, The Bill, Up The Garden Path, Spitting Image: Must See TV, Best Ever Spitting Image, ITVís 50 Greatest Shows, and, Coronation Street were also first broadcast on ITV1.

Pete Waterman had previously contributed to the writing of the theme music for Roland Rat The Series.

Robert Hands went on to take part in Shopping With The Stars 2008.

Martin Koch, and, Vivien Parry may have previously taken part in Thing A Thon.

Kelly Price went on to take part in Shopping With The Stars 2009.

Besides being screened in both Britain, Canada, and Australia, the documentary has also been released on an ABBA DVD titled Super Troupers, released by Polydor Records UK catalogue number 9824276. The footage used in that is very similar to that on the TV documentary, but there have been a few alterations. Louise Plowright with her dynamos Louise Gold and Lesley Nicol along with the rest of Cast 3 doing Rich Manís World, appear in Track 17 of the DVD, although the footage of them varies somewhat to that on the television programme (it has been cut into more).

 

Summary/ Review

by Emma Shane, 2 September 2005

Overall one of the more interesting ABBA documentaries, at least for musical theatre fans. since there is quite a good mix of original ABBA footage (plus some archive stuff of the ABBA performers in their pre-ABBA careers; apart from the obvious Swedish folk groups footage, this also includes some clips from the original Swedish production of Jesus Christ Superstar). And then thereís the band members as they are now, plus a good bit of footage involving the musical Mamma Mia.

Where this documentary falls down is in Pete Watermanís silly narration. He seems to be attempting to be sensationalist (a sad trend with documentary narrators these days). And there is simply no reason for it. Some of his off-the-cuff remarks sound rather condescending. While the will-she-wonít-she-appear story about Agnetha that ran through much of the narrative, were totally pointless, because by the time the documentary was broadcast (five months after the ďreunionĒ) most people watching it would surely have already known that Agnetha was not able to make it to the event. However, the documentary did contain some very interesting pieces to camera, notable Bjorn along with MD Martin Koch, and others, on the subject of the ABBA sound, and the efforts they had to go to to try and reconstruct that sound authentically for the stage show Mamma Mia.

This is not really a documentary about the musical Mamma Mia, but since the ďreunionĒ in the programmeís title took place on the stage of The Prince Edward Theatre, after the fifth anniversary performance of that musical (and thirty years to the day that ABBA won The Eurovision Song Contest), there are a good few clips from the show. And it is here that there are some real delights. There is a lot of new footage of the then very new London Production Cast 6 led by Vivien Parry in action at the end of the show, when Vivien with her Dynamos Kim Ismay and Lara Mulcahy are singing Dancing Queen, and then launch into Waterloo. They do a good enthusiastic job with it. As best one can tell from this all too short clip Vivien and Kim at least manage to acquit themselves well, bearing in mind that they are up against trying to follow some pretty hard acts to follow, and Iím not just referring to ABBA here, there are the previous Mamma Mia casts to consider (most notably Louise Plowright who originated the role of Tanya, and until two months previously had been playing Donna Sheridan). Well no one could be quite like Louise Plowright, but Vivien Parry seems to be managing to hold the audience. While Kim Ismay looked quite convincing in that clip (brief though it is) as Tanya (and that is no mean feet either). Lara Mulcahy appears, in this little clip, to be the least attention-grabbing in a musical number, but that seems to be entirely in keeping with her part. There follows, a lovely moment, at the very end, after the ďreunionĒ when Vivien and her dynamos (along with the rest of the cast, get to lead the three famous pop stars off stage with them, and all are shown afterwards champagne in hand clinking glasses.

There is also an amount of earlier footage, of other Mamma Mia casts, and two songs Mamma Mia and Rich Manís World arelargely only heard as sung by the Mamma Mia casts. (For Dancing Queen and a bit of Waterloo we have both the original band and the Mamma Mia castís performances of). Quite early on (in part 2 of the documentaryís five parts) there is some footage of a rehearsal for the original production. Though Siobahn McCarthy is easy to spot, I have completely failed to spot either of her dynamos, Louise Plowright and Jenny Galloway, in this footage, though as the number being rehearsed is the title song, Mamma Mia (which doesnít involve them), perhaps they werenít in the room at the time? Supertrouper Louise Plowright, however, does appear most delightfully in another clip (in part 4 of the documentary) heading Mamma Mia London Production Cast 3 in a rousing rendition of Rich Manís World. This starts with the song as a backing to some other footage, yet something about sound makes you realise this is not the ABBA version of that song (Louise Plowright has rather a distinctive voice). Presently the footage is shown too. She looks magnificent, so full of conviction, as indeed do all the cast. The footage very probably dates to the BBC documentary, A Week In The West End, but thereís a great treat in store, with some shots of it that werenít included in that documentary. (It looks like this footage has been taken from elsewhere in the song); I canít help wondering how much footage there actually is of this performance of that song. In the footage shown here, there is a lovely moment when the camera wanders off the leading lady, to her two fellow dynamos, at the back of the stage, capturing for a moment the wonderful comic interplay between the great double act of Louise Gold as Lesley Nicol, as they look at each other and decide to run over to the table. Immediately after this, Louise Gold turns her head momentarily to glance into the wings, and then turns back just in time to sing her solo line in the song ďA man like that is hard to findĒ. By which time, Louise Plowright has joined them, and the trio clink glasses that are on the table. The scene cuts soon after. It is followed by very brief clips of the same number from about four different productions from around the world. Admittedly they were only very brief clips, but somehow I felt that none of the four leading ladies shown came across quite as well as that West End winner who takes it all Louise Plowright.

All in all itís worth putting up with Pete Watermanís soppy narration for: The footage of ABBA performing as ABBA, the earlier archive footage of the ABBA members in their pre-ABBA days, the descriptions of the difficulties of trying to recreate the ABBA Sound for the musical Mamma Mia, and the footage of the musical Mamma Mia in particular the wonderful footage of (one sensational Mamma Mia trio) Louise Plowright, Louise Gold and Lesley Nicol along with the rest of Cast 3ís amazingly brilliant performance of Rich Manís World.

 

Links about Abba - The Reunion aka Super Troupers DVD

ABBA Site - Page announcing the screening of this documentary: http://www.abbasite.com/news/index.php?id=1452&nolimit=asdf

ITVís websiteís page for the programme: http://www.itv.com/page.asp?partid=2109

Mamma Mia, London Productionís websiteís page for the documentary DVD: http://www.mamma-mia.com/london/dvd.asp

ABBA Mailís page about the programme - ABBA Fans reactions: http://www.abbamail.com/super_troupers_tv_reaction.htm

Amazon.co.ukís page for the DVD of the documentary: http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00061S0AU/026-4413274-3950018

An unofficial ABBA websiteís log mentioning the documentary: http://www.abbf.web-log.nl/

Amazon.comís listing for the DVD of the documentary: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/B00065TZE6/103-6964377-8997444?v=glance

 

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