Watching Swedish pop group ABBA win the Eurovision Song Contest in 1974 is a nostalgic memory for Glynn Nicholas.
Growing up in the UK, he can recall how popular the show was, even back then.
Prompted by his love for the contest and all things Eurovision, Nicholas has directed and produced a local comedic musical tribute, Song Contest – the Almost Eurovision Experience.
Eleven countries compete as part of the show and much like the real Eurovision, the audience votes to determine who wins at every performance.
Nicholas said he wanted to create a homage to the contest, and believes it provides ample inspiration.
“I saw a lot of potential for a show like this… people can go on a nostalgia trip because they’ll remember the songs they heard back when they were 15 or 16,” he said.
“Even though all the songs in our show are original, it’ll make them remember some part of Eurovision history from when they were younger.”
The countries represented in the show are Italy, Ireland, Greece, Sweden, Russia, Norway, Germany, Poland, United Kingdom, Hungary, and Iceland.
Earlier this year, X-Factor winner Dami Im was chosen by SBS to represent Australia at the 2016 Eurovision Song Contest in Sweden.
Nicholas believes Australia’s inclusion in the massive contest has helped to increase the number of fans it has here locally.
“I think last year 4.7 million people watched it on SBS, and in 2014 it was 2.7 million, so it doubled just because we had someone competing in the competition,” he said.
“This year with Dami Im in it – who knows – it’s becoming part of the zeitgeist here and I hope it will grow and grow.
“At our show we’ve had people come along who aren’t even Eurovision fans but they still enjoy it… whether you’re a long-time fan or not, it can appeal to everyone.”
Nicholas hopes to expand the show and make it an annual song contest, in different venues and locations, with venues already vying to take the show to Germany.
“We’ve also had a couple of emails from producers in the UK,” he said.
“The big picture idea is to create a new show every year, export it, and give Australian talent an international light.
“We had five or six contributing songwriters this year, so it would be great to grow that pool as well.”
Song Contest – the Almost Eurovision Experience is currently playing at The Alex Theatre in St. Kilda until May 1. Grab your tickets here.