Assembly Rooms – Reviewed 1 August, Playing until 25 August
Reviewed by Manetta McIntosh
The One That Has Potential.
This parody musical of the hugely successful Friends series may seem a bit confusing to anyone who has not watched Friends, in fact, it may confuse some who have seen it. The show covers 10 years of the series in 1 and a half hours with a timeline that is slightly distorted, but this is part of the show.
Jamie Lee-Morgan’s depiction of Ross is like watching the episode with Russ, it is…but it isn’t. In fact most of the cast where spot on with their version of the Friends characters, Thomas Mitchells may not have looked exactly like Chandler but he had his mannerisms and catch phrases off pat. However, Sarah Goggins WAS Monica Geller, I could not take my eyes off her when she was acting because it was like Courtney was in the room. The only one who I could not really place was Joey, Jordan Fox did not look or really sound like the loveable rogue, but you knew who he was supposed to be…even though he never once appeared on stage with blue lipstick.
The show definitely has potential, there were so many comedy references to iconic scenes that will have true fans howling at parts of the script, but for me some of the lines were delivered so quickly I almost missed the punchline. Some of the gags were visual, *Spoiler Alert* I don’t think you need to sit too close to the front to be able to see Rachel’s (Charlotte Elizabeth Yorke) nipples, it was almost as if they were becoming more obvious as the show went on, and Monica with the turkey on her head was as funny in this version as it was in the original.
There are a couple of very important faces that made an appearance, some of them were the main cast doubling up, but my favourite had to be Gunther who, I believe, was played by Duncan Burt, he had the dead-pan coffee shop owner to a tee. He also came on as Magnum PI during the very catchy song ‘Richard’s Moustache’. Jordan Fox doubling up as Chloe the hot Xerox girl was pure genius and oddly attractive, and Ohhhh Myyyyyy Gawddddddd no series or version of Friends would be complete without Janice.
There were parts of the behind the scenes production that needed tweaking, the sound was sketchy at times and the scene changes were awkward, I also felt that the venue was too small for the production, but that is likely down to the resources available during the Fringe. The cast worked incredibly hard to make the scene/costume changes as smooth as possible as they were also doubling up as the stage crew, during the dream scene the costume change for Chandler was so quick his zip was still down.
I think if you don’t expect this to be a replica of Friends or a follow on from where they ended, then fans will love it.