I've written before about my startling capacity for over-estimating my own likely mental ability on any given evening, with a long and predictable history of booking heinously intellectual activities on week nights. Would I like to review a six-hour staging of Ibsen's more obscure works, performed backwards and entirely in Peruvian, in three weeks time? Why yes! An experimental musical evening where the works of someone I've never heard of are performed only on items found in a cutlery drawer? Please! The trouble with booking things a long time ahead is that anything seems possible; then you get to the evening in question and all you want to do is go home from work, put your pyjamas on and admire Romola Garai's tailoring in The Hour, whilst drinking tea.
Well, finally I have learnt my lesson. For on Thursday 16th May I will be casting aside my highbrow pretensions and going to see something I actually want to see: the Abba Forever tribute show rolls into town, offering a joyously uncomplicated evening of Swedish melody and exuberantly-styled hair, with singing, and dancing and - probably - an ice-cream at half time. The Abba Forever show has been running since 1998 and has a reputation for being one of the stand-out tributes to the Nordic giants, with totally live performances and a focus on tight musicianship; they also - worryingly - promise to take audiences "on a journey back to the 1970s". Hopefully this means in joy of spirit rather than by re-creating the fetching pudding bowl haircut and crocheted baby outfits I would actually have been sporting during this dubious period.
So, if you're giving the Ibsen a miss, I'll no doubt see you all at Manchester Opera House on the 16th; I want it completely understood though, that as reigning Abba Singstar champion, I shall be playing the part of Agnetha - albeit from the comfort of my chair.
- Abba Forever is at the Manchester Opera House on Thursday 16th May, and begins at 7.30. Tickets priced from £17.50 - 19.50 are available here.