Following a season at Birmingham Rep at the start of 2023, Ian Hallard’s ground-breaking new play, The Way Old Friends Do will be setting out on its inaugural tour of the UK which will including its London premiere at The Park Theatre.
In 1988, two school friends tentatively come out to one another: one as gay, the other – more shockingly – as an ABBA fan. Nearly thirty years later, a chance meeting sets them on a brand-new path and they decide to form the world’s first ABBA tribute band – in drag!
But can their friendship survive the tribulations of a life on the road which includes platform boots, fake beards and a distractingly attractive stranger?
Simultaneously tender and laugh-out loud funny, this heartfelt story will appeal to anyone who understands how it feels to be a fan: of ABBA or of anyone.
As an actor, Ian Hallard’s theatre credits include The Boys in the Band (West End, Whatsonstage Best Actor nomination); Great Britain and Scenes From An Execution (National Theatre). Ian’s TV credits include Doctor Who, Sherlock, Endeavour, The Power, The Crown, Poirot, Marple, Doctors, Crooked House, and The Worst Journey in the World; and on film, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Act, and The Dark Room.
His first play Adventurous was produced online by Jermyn Street Theatre in March 2021. Further writing for theatre includes Steenie, about the relationship between King James I and the Duke of Buckingham (Turbine), and Horse-Play (Riverside Studios).
Director, Mark Gatiss has had a long and varied career as a writer, director and producer, as well as an actor and published author. He is best known as a member of The League of Gentlemen and as the co-creator and executive producer of the multi award-winning BBC series Sherlock, in which he played Mycroft Holmes. He both wrote for and appeared in the modern revival of Doctor Who, and was the writer and executive producer of An Adventure in Space and Time for its 50th anniversary celebrations.
He has recently directed Steven Moffat’s debut play The Unfriend for Chichester Theatre, which in 2023 will transfer to the Criterion Theatre in the West End.
“They say write what you know. Well, ’The Way Old Friends Do’ is the culmination of Ian’s life-long adoration of ABBA. It’s not strictly autobiographical (he’s never actually been in a drag ABBA tribute band, worse luck) but there’s a lot of him in the story, and as a result, Mark is the only person he could envisage transporting his ‘baby’ from page to stage. We’re head over heels with delight to have assembled such a wonderful team of creative people around us: from Sean Foley and everyone from the Birmingham Rep who have put such faith in the show, to James Seabright, Jason Haigh-Ellery and their teams who next year will bring it to stages across the U.K.” Ian Hallard and Mark Gatiss