September 16th - September 21st
Friendsical is an original and unique new parody musical inspired by the gang in Friends, the iconic TV show.
When Ross’s wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life… will he end up with his one true love?
With original new songs such as ‘(He’s her) Lobster!’, ‘Richard’s Moustache’ and ‘You’re Over Me, When Were You Under Me?’, the gang take on naked Thursdays, a power cut, and a dinosaur convention! What could possibly go wrong?
This is a loving parody not to be confused with the Warner Bros Entertainment Inc. series Friends
Running time: approx. 2 hours 15 minutes, including interval.
Production photographs by Dale Wightman
Choice Radio Worcester
There are basically two types of people.
Those for whom Friday nights at 9pm on Channel 4 back in 1994 was must-see TV, following the antics of 6 New Yorkers based around their favourite café Central Perk and their apartments.
And then there's everyone else to whom the names Joey, Monica, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe and Rachel mean little, if anything at all, especially 25 years later.
Billed as a parody musical, Friendsical is very firmly aimed at the former, taking as its basis one element of the show - the on-off relationship between Rachel and Ross and immediately including the elements of the show's title sequence - colourful umbrellas and the sofa, the song being "Friends Like Us" - one of the potential titles of the show rather than The Rembrandts' "I'll be there for you".
Thoroughly and deliberately mixing up the timelines of the plots of the series which ran for 10 years and 236 episodes, this is actually Ross's take on the whole shebang, a creation of his with the occasional aside to the audience and to the rest of the cast. In this concocted scenario, writer Miranda Larson has a wealth of situations and mannerisms to choose from, which make the characters easily identifiable to the fans of the show. But this does mean cramming in a large amount - often just single-liners referencing something which happened in the show - into two hours and there is a lot of raised and high-pitched voices, accurate to the original but a little overwhelming when condensed into a short period.
That is not to underestimate the skills of the actors in portraying these young Americans (and others, such as Gunther, Emily, Richard and the always dependably dreadful Janice...) and it has to be said that one actor in particular nails his part perfectly. Thomas Mitchells's portrayal of Chandler is spot on in every respect and it could just as easily have been Matthew Perry on stage…
In spite of the popularity of the TV series (53 million Americans watched the final episode and it's still being shown on British TV), this is nonetheless a rather niche play and, as a parody, you really do need to know the original otherwise much of it will not make much sense and will go over your head in a continuous stream of bewildering, sometimes unexplained, references. What is it with Rachel's hair? Why does Joey wear six sets of clothing on top of each other? And Phoebe selling out to a record company?
It's a pity Marcel didn't make an appearance though (if you don't get that reference, maybe the show's not for you!).
The fact that you really do need this prior knowledge probably explains why at least two other reviewers at the show walked out at the end of the first act and did not return.
It seems you either get it or you don't, so be warned!
Lucky enough to see this last week in Edinburgh and loved it and laughed all the way through