The Way Old Friends Do
16 March 2023
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
The Way Old Friends Do is a joyful production, following two school friends who lost contact for three decades, and re-unite after a chance meeting and make a decision that will change their lives. Having been devout ABBA fans since childhood, they decide to start the world’s first ABBA tribute band in drag! Originally starting with just one show, put on to help out a friend who had another tribute band cancel with very short notice, they discover they love to perform, and audiences love them. But personal problems and different personalities clashing makes touring difficult.
The idea for this show is fantastic, and it starts out very strong! But I had a few issue with the progression of the plot. The biggest antagonist of the story is a young ABBA fan who comes in and manipulates the older men, playing them against each other and seeking to live his own dream of being in a successful tribute band. It’s a bit of a stale idea and a very uninteresting villain who is too obvious way too early to be intriguing or surprising in any way.
I also thought it was a shame that while we do get the idea that this ABBA-drag tribute band is quite successful, we aren’t treated to any actual performances, which would have been wonderful as part of a heartfelt story.
Some of the characters do feel a bit too stereotyped, and the plot needs work to make the twists more surprising and the bad guy more compelling, but it was still a thoroughly enjoyable experience. A story about friendship, personal struggles, fandom, ageing, and finding yourself, all wrapped up in the music of ABBA.