MUSICAL REVIEW: Friendsical ★★★★
Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham
Wednesday 10th - 13th July 2019
Based upon the popular television series 'Friends', Friendsical The Parody Musical features an eight person cast who certainly do justice to the well known comical moments that we all remember and continue to love thanks to the ever growing streaming services around. Adapted in order to fit within a two hour show, Miranda Larson has cleverly written and directed a production which condenses the entire 10 seasons, as well as not being afraid to adding their own twist on these popular characters, right down the ever so iconic theme tune.
For fans of the rest, rest assure that each character is very closely tied to the original, using the same mannerisms and expressions, especially Ally Retburg, who perfects Phoebe’s hand flaps and Janice’s cackle, leaving the audience in hysterics. This slick show demonstrated the powerful relationships between the cast, with confident but accurate representations of the original characters. The audience particularly enjoyed it when characters spoke directly to the audience, often providing hilarious insight into the scene behind them, and ultimately breaking the fourth wall.
The crew for this production were incredibly efficient, astounding the audience with slick scenes changes, and clever adaptations of the famous Central Perk Coffee Shop set to transform between settings. The lighting was simple yet effective, using single spotlights to follow characters, especially during a duet sung between Ross and Rachel. Although the show at first was presented with a few microphone issues, which made it difficult to hear the lyrics to some musical numbers, it was quickly resolved and complimented the needs of the cast.
Anthony Lamble's design for this production was simple, however adding clear clarification of where the story was currently set, whether it was Monica’s bedroom, Chandler’s bedroom or the Café, the three most recognisable scenes in the series. The cast moved confidently round the set, using the cupboards and doors, enabling the audience to feel they were embodied within the world so familiar to many.
Overall, Friendsical is a parody musical that would be highly recommended to any fan of the original series. Its swift and carefully thought out timeline only added to the heart warming but comical story, as well as of course including some well recognised phrases which audiences will gleam from ear to ear