THE Way Old Friends Do at the Everyman Theatre is a touching and sometimes outrageous comedy by Ian Hillard.

It follows the story of Peter, played by Ian Hillard, a middle aged man who hooks up with his old schoolfriend Edward played by James Bradshaw.

The two men are bonded by a love of supergroup Abba and both are homosexuals. The play examines aspects of homophobia which both men have faced and their enduring friendship.

The pair embark on a mad cap mission to bring a mixed gender ABBA tribute group to the stage, reprising an act which first saw the light of day when they were both school children.

Andrew Horton as Christian is thrown into the mix as the gorgeous photographer who ends up in a relationship with both men at various points in the show.

Set on a brilliant stage by Janet Bird which doubles as various changing rooms and Peter's home all set against an ABBA backdrop.

James Bradshaw as Edward is great as the stereotypical camp man with all his ascerbic wit and put downs which he dishes out with aplomb.

Ian Hillard is brilliant as the 'straight' man in the relationship and consummate ABBA expert.

This is his first official play having been an unofficial script editor and actor. He decided to write about what he knows and ABBA and friendships is what he chose with great effect.

A thumping soundtrack of ABBA classics and a talking role for the late great Paul O'Grady as the voice of a radio DJ and Marion Margolyes as the voice of Nan who is brilliant when Peter eventually comes out to her.

The audience were clearly on the side of Edward who is cracking as the old homosexual desperately looking for love in the Autumn of his life.

Sara Crowe steals the show as the old Scot Mrs Campbell with some great one liners which went down a storm.

The Way Old Friends Do is at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham this week.