The Way Old Friends Do: A hilarious new comedy show about friendship, love, and ABBA tribute band comes to Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre

DEVOTION, desire and dancing queens are all heading to South Yorkshire with a new comedy show about friendship, love, and fun.

The Way Old Friends Do is coming to Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre started this week and runs until Saturday, March 11.

A new comedy written by actor Ian Hallard and directed by Mark Gatiss, it follows two Birmingham school friends who tentatively come out to one another in 1988 — one as gay, the other as an ABBA fan.

Nearly 30 years later, a chance meeting sets them on a 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?

The Way Old Friends Do is the first play written by actor Ian Hallard, who says: “It’s a play rather than a musical.

“We’re not trying to compete with Mamma Mia!

“It’s very much in the vein of The Full Monty or Stepping Out — a bunch of plucky amateurs deciding to put on a show.”

When Ian’s husband — the show’s director — Mark Gatiss read the script, he described it as “very touching, very funny, very true”.

The pair have worked together before but Ian says the play “is going to be a slightly different dynamic” as this is the first time as director and writer, and on stage.

“But given past experiences, I have no cause for concern!” he laughs.

Ian’s theatre acting credits include The Boys in the Band, while director Mark is best known for his work as an actor, writer and producer on Sherlock, Dracula, and Doctor Who, and being one quarter of comedy troupe The League of Gentlemen.

Mark says the show will provide much-needed escapism, adding: “It's extremely celebratory — it’s about friendship, about love, about fun.

“It’s also about life and about time and how it changes us.

“But principally, it’s just a really entertaining show.”

The 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).

Tickets can be booked through the box office in person, by calling on 0114 249 6000 or at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk.