The Way Old Friends Do
Theatre Royal Brighton
Any Abba super-fan is bound to know that ‘The Way Old Friends Do’ is a track from Abba’s 1980 album ‘Super Trooper’, but it is also the title of Ian Hallard’s new play that breezes into the Theatre Royal in Brighton this week like a breath of fresh air.
Don’t expect big glitzy song and dance numbers, in fact don’t expect any numbers at all, this is not a musical, or a tribute band, this is a play about friendship, loyalty and most of all, about being a super-fan.
Making his writing debut, Hallard (a self-confessed Abba fan) stars in the production as Peter, who, after being made redundant, is inspired by his old school pal Edward (James Bradshaw) decides to create an Abba tribute band with a twist! It would be in drag! He enlists to sing as Frida and with the help of his friend Sally (Donna Berlin), holds auditions for the
female male members of the group. They finally cast Jodie an inexperienced drama student (Rose Shaloo) as Benny and a frumpy Mrs Campbell (Sara Crowe) completes the foursome as Bjorn.
This unlikely quartet hit the road playing clubs, pubs and performing at private parties, life on the road is hard especially when handsome photographer Christian (Andrew Horton) mixes things up. Will their friendship survive?
Directed by Mark Gatiss ‘The Way Old Friends Do’ is a play of two halves. As we are introduced to the characters, the first act is funny and frivolous as opposed to the more serious second act where their friendships are tested. There is much to like, the play is littered with lots of Abba trivia and pleasing one-liners and Janet Bird’s clever set and costumes are a delight. One to watch if you are an Abba fan or not.
‘The Way Old Friends Do’ remains at the Theatre Royal Brighton until Saturday 6th May before continuing on its tour.
Reviewer: Sammi O’Neill
You can purchase tickets here: Theatre Royal Brighton
Interview with Mark Gatiss and Ian Hallard