Friendsical: A Parody Musical About Friends (rating 5/5)
US sitcom Friends, the story of six flatmates living in Manhattan, has such an enduring popularity that it has never been off television screens in the 25 years since the series began. So any spin-off is bound to draw an audience.
This parody musical played to a packed house and retells the complex and crazy tales of Chandler, Joey, Ross, Phoebe, Rachel and Monica, together with one or two cameo appearances by some of the more memorable guests.
The story is narrated by Ross (played by Jamie Lee-Morgan), who takes us through a summary of the entire ten season series. It looks and feels exhausting to watch and must feel the same to those on stage. The pace is so quick that if you blink your eyes you fear you will miss half a series. Hence this show lasts 90 minutes, which is unusual for the Fringe as most of the shows last about an hour.
As well as some excellent singing and dancing the show is enhanced by several of the actors – Lee-Morgan as Ross, Thomas Mitchells as Chandler, Sarah Goggin as Monica and Ally Retberg as Phoebe – bearing a very strong resemblance to the characters, including their voices and mannerisms.
The storyline is not told in the correct time order, but does contain some of the most memorable scenes that true Friends fans will remember. A particularly effective scene is when the ex-lover of Chandler – Janice – makes a noisy appearance. She is also played by Retberg who perfectly captures her Bronx accent and irritating laugh.
This is a well-written and entertaining show which has been a worldwide hit. I particularly enjoyed watching Mitchells as the dysfunctional Chandler (always my favourite, we all had one) with his quirky mannerisms and cutting one liners. He and Lee-Morgan got their characters to a tee. If you are a Friends fan go see it, you will not be disappointed.
Assembly Rooms, Music Hall until 25 August