MUSICAL – Friendsical – The Friends musical parody at Assembly Festival

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What could anyone possibly not to love about a musical parodying one of the best shows of all times?  [star rating =3/5]

I’M not sure if this was a parody of a musical or a musical parody.

Image: Dale Wightman

The storyline created by Miranda Larson is simple: Ross tries to create a musical based on every season of Friends focussing (as ever) on his own love story with Rachel.

The characters, in terms of script were well thought out, but sadly the delivery was not fully accomplished. Thomas Mitchells’ Chandler, Sarah Goggin’s Monica and Jamie Lee-Morgan’s slightly manic Ross were the stars of the night. The rest of the ensemble remained invisible most of the time.

Chandler was my personal favourite, with all the awkwardness and traits the character created by the Crane-Kauffman duo had. Thomas Mitchells never went out of character when singing nor dancing; his voice and demeanour was spot on all the way.

It was interesting that when the rest of the cast was portraying other secondary personages they came along more credible and funnier: Janice was hilarious and Chloe the Xerox girl was even better than the original.

The scenography worked well although the transitions between sets looked rushed and unfinished.

There were little hiccups (young Ross’s moustache falling in the middle of a song was a big one), but those are the risks of an ambitious production with lots of costume changes.         

The songs composed by Barry Bignold were ok. Being a Friends fan, as surely most of the spectators were, I was expecting edgier lyrics and less a mishmash of pop musicals heard before. The most enjoyed was “Richard’s moustache” which frankly made my jaws hurt.

The predictability of the show felt good and there were a lot of iconic winks to the past: Joey’s man purse, the prom jump to young Rachel-Ross, the “seven” part and the turkey head – all of them brought a nostalgic smile to members of the audience reminiscing the show in its prime in the 90’s and early 00’s.

Despite the mishaps, the audience is always the best meter and the laughs and applause were constant throughout the hour and 45 minutes that this production ran.

This might not be everybody’s “lobster” but it was an undeniable good formula with plenty of room for improvements and fireworks.