AWARDS SHORTLIST: MONSTAS: Best Album of 2021

It’s been quite the year, it’s almost Christmas and what would the festive season be without some recognition of the best of 2021? Over the next month we’ll shortlist five nominees in each of 15 categories for our Oscars, or monstas if you will, of 2021.

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ALBUM OF THE MONTH: Voyage by ABBA (November 2021)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

TRACKLIST: I Still Have Faith In You; When You Danced With Me; Little Things; Don’t Shut Me Down; Just A Notion; I Can Be That Woman; Keep An Eye On Dan; Bumble Bee; No Doubt About It; Ode To Freedom

November has seen big album releases by Adele, Little Mix and Diana Ross but it is this 1st studio album in 40 years by the Swedish super group that has grown and grown on us since its early November release.

  • Read on for reasons including how ABBA Voyage is ABBA silver rather than ABBA Gold
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9 reasons why we can’t wait for November includes Cabaret starring Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne

  1. Cabaret starring Jessie Buckley and Eddie Redmayne

The West End’s Playhouse Theatre is being repurposed as the Kit Kat Club to stage director Rebecca Frecknall’s (Summer And Smoke, Almeida and West End) vision of this musical and movie classic with film stars Redmayne and Buckley (Romeo and Juliet, Sky Arts). Runs from 15 November 2021 and is currently booking to 16 April 2022. Tickets 1st preview review

  • Read on for reasons including new ABBA album, Dadi Freyr tour, Beverley Knight musical and Rina Sawayama gig
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THEATRE REVIEW: ABBA Mania at Shaftesbury Theatre

WORTH A LOOK?: ***1/2

WHEN?: Friday 21 May, runs to 6 June 2021

RUNTIME: 120 minutes (including 20-minute interval)

It’s the night before the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest but how best to spend it in the West End when theatres have re-opened with social distancing and the audience wearing masks for the first time since December?

  • Read on for reasons including ticket details for how to see this ABBA greatest hits show in the West End until June 2021
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FILM REVIEW and ALBUM REVIEW: Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga starring Will Ferrell

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

OUT now on Netflix

This film is well-timed because in the 65-year history of the Eurovision Song Contest it has been held annually apart from 2020 when Covid-19 caused its cancellation.

  • Read on for reasons including why we shed a little tear at this film’s surprising and moving conclusion

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PREVIEW: 9 reasons why we can’t wait for July

  1. Sacha Dhawan in new Alan Bennett play

Sacha Dhawan (pictured above) won our Best Film/TV Actor monsta last year for The Boy With the Topknot and is here reunited with playwright Alan Barnett and former History Boy Samuel Barnett in a play at the Bridge Theatre marking the 70th birthday of the NHS. Runs 11/7 to 28/9/18. Tickets

Screen Shot 2018-06-20 at 07.00.36

  • Read on for reasons including Sigrid, Mamma Mia 2, Years and Years in Camden and Importance Of Being Earnest

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EXHIBITION REVIEW: ABBA: Super Troupers at Southbank Centre

WORTH A LOOK?: ****

WHERE?: Southbank Centre

WHEN?: 10/5/18, booking to 29/7/18

STOP PRESS: Super Troupers arrives at The 02 6/12/19 to 31/8/20 Tickets

Did you ever see ABBA live? Probably not because, as we learn here, they remained in Sweden for all but three months of the 10 years they were at their most popular.

  • Read on for reasons including how you can sing Dancing Queen in a replica of ABBA’s studio

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5 (6,7,8) reasons why Steps should be the UK’s 2019 Eurovision entry

31890936_1746382245427408_8209362363149713408_o1. Comeback of the year

It’s hard to envisage an act of their stature coming back with quite the impact that Steps managed in 2017 (and 2018). Their Party On The Dancefloor tour moved seamlessly into Summer Of Steps. Do supports Blue, Aqua and Saara Aalto foreshadow a Steps Eurovision bow?

  • Read on for reasons including it’s our first entry after Brexit, so let’s go out with a bang

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