Friends the TV show has been a huge part of my life. I am the same age as the cast and watched it as soon as it was available in the UK. I had VHS recordings until I swapped them over for DVDs and can proudly say I have watched it more than any other show. I have also brought up my two sons on Friends. They love it and quote it as much as me. I even have Friends Lego and a Friend’s monopoly, so when I found out that there was going to be a Friends’ parody, I had to see it.
We had no idea what to expect but boy did this show deliver. It has squeezed all our favourite bits and most of the iconic bits of the 10 series into less than two hours. I honestly don’t know how they did it. The script is witty and funny and covers almost all the storylines you would expect; sexy Italian guys, Tom Selleck, leather pants, pivot, my sandwich, smelly cat …honestly it was so hard to fit it all in that in the first song of the second half they mention all the bits they couldn’t fit in such as the holiday armadillo and Joey wearing all the clothes in the ‘going commando’ episode.
Did I mention it’s a musical? Its very clever. The songs are all original but do take styles from other musicals and I particularly enjoyed the spoof of Rent. All the cast members are excellent singers so it sounds great and runs beautifully throughout the 10 seasons. The sets were simple yet authentic to the show. One of the best things was the sofa in the foyer so that the audience could recreate their own scenes. This was a fantastic touch and really made my night.
Rachel and Ross were always the big storyline and this is parodied as a ‘will they or wont they’ moment. Rachel was outstanding. Played by Rebecca Brierley and she absolutely nailed every little mannerism of Rachel’s right down to the way Rachel speaks. Ross was also fantastic and played by Mikey Wooster. I loved his hair which definitely was getting bigger each scene and how he walked in the leather pants was a comedy masterclass.
I have always thought I was more a Monica with a touch of Phoebe. Monica was played by Lara Beth-Sas and she did pick up on Monica’s habits such as the ‘I know’ comments but I felt the script could have been a bit kinder to her. Phoebe is played by Elena Christie and she did get Phoebe but it was very one note which is a shame and there is so much more to the character. Poor Phoebe didn’t even get a costume change where all the other characters did.
Joey is played by Max Cadman and he was excellent. He looked sounded and portrayed Joey perfectly. Chandler is one of my favourite characters, played tonight by Sam Willison but I felt disappointment as he didn’t seem very funny…I am not sure if this was intentional or the way Sam delivered his lines but it was definitely the weakest character. Gunther, on the other hand, was exceptional. Jonathon Walker Gilland totally embodies Gunther, who is desperate to be the seventh friend. I do want to say that whoever decided to play Janet as drag was a stroke of genius and the actor nailed it perfectly.
I do recommend seeing this show – to all my friends’ fans – you will get the script and so much more. I just wish there was a chance to almost interact with the characters on stage. Could we all shout ‘pivot’? Or sing about smelly mom? (is there a copyright for smelly cat?). There is room for this fantastic show to grow and I hope it will be around for a long time to come.
Tour dates for 2022 here.