‘Everyone loves ABBA. If people say they don't, they're lying.’
By day Jodie Thornton is a dance teacher, by night she is a dancing queen, reprising Agnetha Fältskog’s role in SOS The Australian ABBA Tribute Show.
‘Everyone loves ABBA. If people say they don't, they're lying,’ Jodie laughs. ‘You’ll see the boyfriend or the partners of the people that go to the show sitting back at the start and then, halfway through the first set, they'll be tapping their toe. By the end of the night they'll be the ones at the front of the dance floor with a drink in their hand, singing every single word to Dancing Queen. It's so hilarious. It's awesome.’
Musician and booking agent Alexander Hell first created the SOS cabaret act in 2010 as a spin off from his 70s to 80s tribute show.
‘I realised how much I loved ABBA’s music,’ Alex says. But, after playing the role of Benny for five years, Alex took off his wig for the last time in 2015, to ensure SOS maintained its youthfulness.
Since then, SOS has performed all over Australia at festivals, nightclubs, theatres and corporate events with Phillipa Hulcombe-Harrison as Frida, Sam Bennett as Bjorn on guitar, David Price as Benny on piano. Darren Hulcombe plays the drums.
‘As a team, every single person has built it up and made it this incredible cabaret theatrical piece. It’s funny and it's heart-warming,’ Jodie says.
Alex says whilst ABBA has always appealed to a broad demographic, given the band burst onto the global stage when it took out the 1974 Eurovision song contest with Waterloo, the SOS show is particularly relevant to the Victorian Seniors Festival cohort.
‘We’ve done a couple of shows for the festival and seniors absolutely loved it,’ Alex says. ‘They can actually go back to a time when they were younger. The power of music is amazing - especially the power of Abba music.’
Watch Jodie's 2020 Victorian Seniors Festival reimagined performance.