It was a TV series that obsessed a generation, it inspired a hairstyle, numerous catchphrases and made both stars and teenage pin-ups of it’s then unknown stars. Now it”s been turned into a musical.
Friendsical revolves around six friends, (yes you’ve guessed it) living their twenty-something lives in the trying to make it in the “real world”. Based (of course) on the TV series which had people obsessing over Ross and Rachel and their “will they/won’t they”, on off relationship, Phoebe and her music career, Chandler and his one liners, Joey and his acting career and Monica and her neet-freakness, Friendsical manages to fit in just about every reference from the show, which lasted for ten years, that you would expect. Is it any good though, I hear you ask? Well the short answer is yes!
Somewhere in between the realms of parady and homage the plot of the musical revolves around the narrative instrument of Ross, played by Jamie Lee Morgan, who’s previous work includes roles in a West End production of War Horse, narrating the audience through the various iconic incidents that every true fan remembers as if it were yesterday. At first this narrative device seems like a needless irritating distraction, but the audience soon learns to live with it and, eventually, it actually works. With deliberately over played delivery and script which contains cheese and corn in abundance the creators of this production were obviously fans of the show.
As with the real show, most of the funniest lines go to Chandler, played on this occasion by Thomas Mitchells, whose previous theatre roles include the UK tour of The Buddy Holly Story as well as a production of Carmen, he even somehow managed to mimic Mathew Perry perfectly. Alongside them are Carlow native Sarah Goggin who if anything might be in danger of upstaging the original Monica (although thankfully without the same annoying quality), Jordan Fox as the hapless but lovable Joey really has the part down to a tee, while Alley Retberg plays Phoebe as quirky as ever and Charlotte Elisabeth Yorke plays Rachel at her best, just quite unable to cope in world where she has to fend for herself.
On the whole Friendsical is a thoroughly entertaining and whimsical take on a much loved institution. And did Ross get Rachel in this rather varied version? Well, you’ll just have to go along to find out. Friendsical is currently on tour, check local press for further details.