A picture of a golden ladies' boot with a Swedish flag on the heel, next to a microphone backstage in front of a blue curtain and stage lights. Text reads: A Birmingham Rep, James Seabright and Jason Haigh-Ellery production; The Way Old Friends Do; A new comedy by Ian Hallard; Directed by Mark Gatiss; Devotion, desire and Dancing Queens...
A picture of a golden ladies' boot with a Swedish flag on the heel, next to a microphone backstage in front of a blue curtain and stage lights. Text reads: A Birmingham Rep, James Seabright and Jason Haigh-Ellery production; The Way Old Friends Do; A new comedy by Ian Hallard; Directed by Mark Gatiss; Devotion, desire and Dancing Queens...
The Way Old Friends Do production image. Background: Theatre stage. A large, futuristic-looking set. At either side of the set, two thin archways lit with blue neon lights. The archways look like the letter ‘A’. In the centre of the set, cut-outs on a grey wall lit with blue, purple and orange neon light. The cut outs form two letter ‘B’s’, the right ‘B’ is reversed. Foreground: Four people stand facing the wall with their arms on their hips. They are wearing white and gold costumes.
Photo by Darren Bell
The Way Old Friends Do production photo. Background: A grey wall with two large cut-out shapes resembling the two letter ‘B’s’. One of these shapes is reversed. Two tables, one with make-up equipment (left) and one with a mannequin head with a red-coloured wig on it (right). Foreground: Ian Hallard, wearing a beige wig cap and blue and white pinstripe dressing gown (left), holds with their left hand the right hand of James Bradshaw, wearing a white t-shirt, red patterned dressing gown, blue socks and brown shoes.
Photo by Darren Bell
The Way Old Friends Do production image. Background: Theatre stage. A large grey wall, with two cut-outs shaped as two letter ‘B’s’. One of the ‘B’s’ on the right-hand side of the image is reverse. A community notice pin board with various posters hangs onto the left-hand side ‘B’ cut-out. Foreground: Rose Shalloo, wearing a denim jumpsuit and a blue, green and white scarf, talks to Donna Berlin, wearing a red, orange and yellow gradient coat.
Photo by Darren Bell
The Way Old Friends Do production image. Background: Theatre stage. A large grey wall, with two cut-outs shaped as two letter ‘B’s’. One of the ‘B’s’ on the right-hand side of the image is reverse. Two paintings of cats hang on the ‘B’ cut-outs. Foreground: James Bradshaw, wearing a navy suit and light blue turtleneck jumper, sits beside Ian Hallard, wearing a multicoloured shirt and light brown trousers, on a sea blue sofa. To their left-hand side, two small coffee tables in front of each other. The back table features a small, framed photo of ABBA and a box of Kleenex. The front table features a black of hors d'oeuvre with lots of tiny Swedish flags pinned into them.
Photo by Darren Bell

A Birmingham Rep, James Seabright and Jason Haigh-Ellery Production

The Way Old Friends Do

Written by Ian Hallard. Directed by Mark Gatiss

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The Way Old Friends Do, written by Ian Hallard, is a new comedy about devotion, desire and dancing queens.

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).

His other plays include Adventurous (Jermyn Street Theatre); Steenie (The Turbine); and Horse-Play (Riverside Studios).

Director Mark Gatiss is best known for his work as an actor, writer and producer on Sherlock, Dracula, and Doctor Who, and for being one quarter of comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen. He has just directed The Unfriend at Chichester Festival Theatre to critical and audience acclaim.

Cast includes Donna Berlin (Doctors) James Bradshaw (Endeavour), Sara Crowe (Olivier Award winner for Private Lives), Andrew Horton (Jupiter’s Legacy) and Rose Shalloo (Malory Towers). Featuring the voices of Miriam Margolyes and Paul O’Grady.

Take a sneak peek behind the scenes of the cast photoshoot and learn more about this ABBA-tastic comedy from Ian Hallard and Mark Gatiss.


26 April, 7.30pm
BSL Interpreted by Daryl McMullan – Provided Complete Communication LTD


“So much to love, whether you’re an ABBA fan or not… hilariously funny and bang on the Money, Money, Money.

Reviews Hub


“Feel-good evening that makes you want to get your platform boots on and thank ABBA for the music”

Fairy Powered Productions


“A super-trouper of a show”

What's On Stage


“A genuine love letter to ABBA… blisteringly funny one-liners.”

Broadway World


“Hilarious and surprisingly moving. You won’t want to miss it.”

West End Best Friend

“Laugh out loud with a pathos to it, like all the best underdog British comedies.”

BBC Midlands Today

“Heart-warming, funny and I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do recommend a visit!”

Curtain Call Reviews

Ian Hallard Headshot

Ian Hallard

Writer and Peter

For theatre, The Boys in the Band (Park/Vaudeville Theatres) – Whatsonstage Awards Best Actor nomination, Scenes From An Execution and Great Britain (National Theatre), Hogarth’s Progress (Rose, Kingston), Tonight at 8:30 (Jermyn Street), Lovesong of the Electric Bear (Hope/Arts Theatres),  Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Theatre Clwyd), Lilies (Greenwich), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), The Vote (Donmar Warehouse), Tumulus (Soho Theatre), and Donkeys’ Years (UK tour).

On television, Doctor Who, Sherlock, Endeavour, The Power, The Crown, Poirot, Marple, Doctors, Crooked House, The Worst Journey in the World; and on film, Mary, Queen of Scots, The Act, The Dark Room.

He has written and been script associate on three episodes of Poirot for ITV.

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).

Mark Gatiss headshot

Mark Gatiss


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 also co-created the BBC and Netflix drama Dracula, and has written and directed several BBC ghost stories, including The Mezzotint, Martin’s Close, The Dead Room, The Tractate Middoth.

Other writing credits for television include The Amazing Mr BlundenCrooked HouseThe Worst Journey in the World, Poirot, and his adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The First Men in the Moon. He wrote and presented the documentary series A History of Horror and its sequel Horror Europa, as well as art documentaries on John Minton and Aubrey Beardsley. He curated and directed Queers, a series of eight monologues for BBC Four to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Sexual Offences Act.

As an actor, recent screen work includes Mission Impossible 7Operation Mincemeat, The FatherThe FavouriteChristopher RobinGunpowderWolf HallCoalition and Game of Thrones; and on stage, Coriolanus (Donmar Warehouse), The Boys in the Band (Park/Vaudeville Theatres), Three Days in the Country (National Theatre: Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role), the title role in The Madness of George III (Nottingham Playhouse), and Jacob Marley in his own adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Nottingham Playhouse and Alexandra Palace).

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.

Donna Berlin headshot

Donna Berlin


Donna Berlin is an Actress, Choreographer and Movement Director. She started dancing at the age of 3 and her love of the performing arts grew when she later attended stage school. At the age of 11 she appeared in her first film, Pink Floyd’s The Wall, and since then she has never looked back. Donna’s theatre credits include The Clinic (Almeida), The Gift (Belgrade/UK Tour), Chasing Rainbows (Hoxton Hall), Princess and the Hustler (Bristol Old Vic/Hull Truck tour – nominated for ‘Best Supporting Actress’ at Broadway World Regional 2019 Awards), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sheffield Crucible), The Chalk Garden (Chichester Festival), Great Apes (Arcola), Of Kith and Kin (Sheffield Crucible/ The Bush), Anna Karenina (Manchester Royal Exchange/WYP), Rolling Stone (Royal Exchange/WYP), Blood Wedding and The Bacchae (Royal & Derngate), Keeping Mum (Brockley Jack), Counted/Look Right Look Left (County Hall/ UK Tour), Puffins (Nabokov/ Southwark Playhouse), and The Vagina Monologues (Pleasance). Donna’s television credits include Nolly, Doctors, Breeders, Requiem, Game Face, Eastenders, Todd Margaret, Drifters, Coronation Street, Hollyoaks, New Tricks, Extras – Series B, Lead Balloon, Casualty, Judge John Deed, and Beautiful People. Donna’s credits in feature films include In Darkness, Monochrome, Dinner With My Sisters, Press Your Lips (LFS short), Blinda (short). Donna’s choreography and movement direction credits include Dick Whittington (Nottingham Playhouse), Trouble in Mind (NT), Aladdin (Mercury), Waves and Attempts on Her Life (NT), and The Merry Widow and Carmen (Opera UK). Donna spent 6 years as Resident Choreographer at The Queens, Hornchurch and has done many in-house productions at LAMDA where she was a member of the movement department for over 30 years.

James Bradshaw headshot

James Bradshaw


James Bradshaw trained at the Birmingham School of Acting and is perhaps best known in recent years for the role of Dr Max DeBryn in the popular and critically acclaimed series Endeavour. He is also remembered for playing Gordon Grimley in The Grimleys and DS Geoff Thorpe in Hollyoaks. James’ other television credits include Four Lives, Doctors, The Reluctant Landlord, Close To The Enemy, Lucan, Primeval IV, Eastenders, Garrow’s Law, Casualty, The Line Of Beauty, Heartbeat, Afternoon Play, Mile High, Afternoon Play, Mile High, In a Land Of Plenty, Longitude, and Oliver Twist. James’ film credits include The Car: Road To Revenge, Convenience, Brideshead Revisited, Minotaur, Irish Jam, Undefeated and Recompense. James’ theatre credits include Heather Gardner (Birmingham Rep), Breakfast At Tiffany’s (Royal Haymarket), Plunder (Watermill/ Greenwich), The Hobbit (UK Tour), Violent Outing (Soho), The Wind In The Willows (Birmingham Rep), House and Garden (NT), and Terracotta (Hampstead). James’ radio credits include What Hetty Did, The Rotter’s Club and Summer Of Love. James’ short film credits include Scenes From The Life Of A Priest and Kebab Land.

Sara Crowe headshot

Sara Crowe

Mrs Campbell

Scots born Sara Crowe is known for her iconic comedy roles across both screen and stage. Her work across the West End has been met with great critical acclaim. Sara’s theatre credits include most recently A Touch of Danger (Royal, Windsor) and Sheila’s Island (UK Tour). Also on tour How the Other Half Loves, Fallen Angels, Acorn Antiques the Musical, Calendar Girls the Musical, and The Constant Wife (Lyric/ UK tour). West End credits include Queers, One Voice: Monologues (Old Vic), Bedroom Farce (Duke of York’s), The Real Inspector Hound and Black Comedy (Comedy), Calendar Girls (Noel Coward), Twelfth Night (Playhouse), Plunder (Savoy), Hay Fever (Albery – Olivier nomination for best comedy performance), Private Lives (Aldwych – Olivier Award for best supporting actress, Critics Circle most promising newcomer Award and Variety Club best actress award) and The City Madam (RSC). Sara’s television credits include Midsomer Murders, Eastenders, Skins, Big Meg in Big Meg/Little Meg, Born and Bred, The Harry Enfield Show, The Rory Bremner Show, Alas Smith and Jones, and the Christmas ghost story Martin’s Close. Sara’s film credits include Four Weddings & A Funeral, Carry on Columbus, Scarlett and Round Ireland with a Fridge. Sara has written two novels, Campari For Breakfast and Martini Henry published by Transworld. Sara has written for the stage, Siobhan Basset’s Hound of the Baskervilles (Yvonne Arnaud).

Andrew Horton headshot

Andrew Horton


Andrew Horton trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. Andrew is best known for his starring role as Brandon Sampson / Paragon in Jupiter’s Legacy, released in 2021. His credits for film include How To Talk to Girls at Parties and Slotherhouse. Andrew’s stage credits include playing the title role of Dorian Gray in The Picture of Dorian Gray (English Theatre, Hamburg) and Jonathan Harker in Dracula (Touring Consortium).

Rose Shalloo headshot

Rose Shalloo


Rose Shalloo trained at Musical Theatre Academy, with recent theatre credits including A Christmas Carol (Old Vic), Malory Towers (UK Tour), The Selfish Giant (Vaudeville), Fiddler On The Roof (Chichester Festival), and A Pacifist’s Guide To The War On Cancer (NT). Her television credits include Holby City, The Scandalous Lady W, Call The Midwife, and The Five. Rose has also appeared in the film Emma.

Miriam Margolyes

Miriam Margolyes

Voice of Nan

Paul O'Grady headshot

Paul O'Grady

Voice of Radio DJ

Anton Tweedale headshot

Anton Tweedale


Anton Tweedale lives in South London with his cat, Nomi Malone. His favourite ABBA song is (currently) “My Love, My Life”. Anton’s credits for theatre include The Mousetrap (West End), Death Knell (UK Tour), Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (UK Tour), Looking For Gatsby (The Other Palace), It’s A Wonderful Life – A Live Radio Play (Old Joint Stock, Birmingham), Alright B*tches! (Above The Stag), Miracle on 34th Street – A Live Musical Radio Play (Town & Gown, Cambridge), and Ordinary Days (London Theatre Workshop). Anton has also appeared many times in Paul Taylor-Mills’ weekly repertory seasons at Theatre Royal Windsor and Sidmouth’s Manor Pavilion, playing characters ranging from Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple to Alfie the octogenarian waiter in One Man, Two Guvnors. He made his debut as a director in the Manor Pavilion Sidmouth’s 2021 repertory season with a production of Neil Simon’s California Suite that also played at the New Peterborough, and he returned last year to direct The Perfect Murder by Peter James and Shaun McKenna.

Toby Holloway headshot

Toby Holloway


Toby Holloway trained at Queen Margaret University and Napier University simultaneously, graduating with Honours in 2020 during lockdown. In 2022 he toured the UK for 4 months with the critically acclaimed Trainspotting Live as an Understudy and Assistant Stage Manager, his first professional credit. He is excited to be part of the debut tour of The Way Old Friends Do and to be working with such renowned creatives both on and off stage.

Tariye Peterside headshot

Tariye Peterside


Tariye Peterside is an Actor and Voiceover Artist from Nigeria who has worked both in the UK and internationally across stage, screen, video games and audio dramas. Tariye’s stage credits include Second Person Narrative (Arcola Women’s Company), Lysistrata(Waterloo East), The Gauntlet (Karamel Club), and The Games Afoot (Waterloo East). Tariye’s audio credits include Season 2 of The X-Men Audio Drama, Batman: The Long Halloween, All We Left Unsaid, Dele Weds Destiny, Sade And Her Shadow Beasts, as well as numerous voiceovers for the BBC. Tariye has also appeared as a vocal artist in Company of Crime (Resistance Games).

Age Guidance 12+
This performance contains haze, flashing lights, strong language and sexual references

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