The Way Old Friends Do

Park Theatre announces 2023 season

North London’s Park Theatre has revealed its new season for 2023.

Productions to be showcased in 2023 include new musical drama On the Ropes, from 6 January to 4 February 2023. Written by Dougie Blaxland and Vernon Vanriel, and directed by Anastasia Osei-Kuffour, the show is about black British boxer Vanriel and his 2005 battle for British citizenship, despite living in North London for 43 years.

In February, TV presenter and critic Clive Anderson (Whose Line Is It Anyway?) stars in new play Winner’s Curse, from 8 February to 11 March 2023. Written by Daniel Taub, a former Middle East peace negotiator, and comedy writer Dan Patterson (Mock the Week), audience participation will be included in the show, which is directed by the Park’s artistic director Jez Bond .

In March, The League of Gentlemen’s Mark Gatiss (The Unfriend) directs his Birmingham Rep production of Ian Hallard’s The Way Old Friends Do, about the world’s first drag ABBA tribute band.

A comedy about devotion, desire and dancing queens, in 1988, two Birmingham 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? The Way Old Friends Do runs from 15 March to 15 April 2023.

Finally in April in the theatre’s main space is a co-production with Hope Mill Theatre – Jon Bradfield’s Animal. Based on a story by Jon Bradfield and Josh Hepple, the show is about David, who is “gay, disabled and profoundly horny”! The play runs from 19 April to 20 May 2023.

The venue’s smaller space will host plays including Nicolas Billon’s The Elephant Song from 16 January to 11 February 2023, directed by Jason Moore; and The Beach House by Jo Harper from 15 February to 11 March 2023.

Currently playing at Park Theatre is a stage adaptation of Christopher Isherwood’s A Single Man until 26 November 2022; and King Hamlin until 12 November.

Artistic Director of the Park Theatre, Jez Bond, said in a press statement that: “We are delighted to be presenting not one, but three in-house productions this season. It’s such a pleasure to welcome Clive Anderson back to Park Theatre as he takes the helm of Winner’s Curse – the new play penned by Middle East diplomat Daniel Taub and television comedy writer, Dan Patterson, and directed by myself. I am as pleased as punch to be giving the incredible tale of north London local lad Vernon Vanriel a crucial voice on our P200 stage with On the Ropes. Plus, we are looking forward to welcoming audiences to see a wonderful new piece of writing from Jon Bradfield and Josh Hepple, ANIMAL, a hilarious and heartwarming story about disability and desire, identity and independence. It’s fantastic to co-produce ANIMAL with the Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester – our second collaboration in the past six months – and we’re excited to tour the show to a key creative hub in Bristol. We hope these burgeoning connections with venues outside of London are a sign of things to come as Park Theatre marks a very special landmark in May by turning ten years old. Completing the main stage bill, Mark Gatiss directs The Way Old Friends Do, and we have two remarkable plays in P90 – The Elephant Song and The Beach House. Right now, we’re still riding high after the fantastic success of our opening shows in the autumn 2022 season, but this is an absolute cracker of a season and I cannot wait.”

📷 Main photo: The Way Old Friends Do

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