Long-running US Sitcom, Friends, has a cult following and so it is no surprise to see queues wending their way round the block outside the Assembly Rooms. Friendsical: A Parody Musical About Friends, has been much talked about in the run-up to the Fringe and has everything a Friends fan could want.
From Central Perk to Ross’ infamous leather pants, few stones are left unturned as the audience is sped through the story of Ross and Rachel’s ten year on/off romance. Ross (Jamie Lee-Morgan) breaks the fourth wall at times to speak directly to the audience and Lee-Morgan has clearly done his homework in studying the mannerisms and nuances of the geeky Ross Geller character, although at times these are overplayed. But, this is his story, his version of events, interspersed with some fun and lively musical pieces which work well alongside the acting scenes.
The show is packed with references to the much-loved show: ‘He’s her lobster’, Chandler’s third nipple, Gunther’s unrequited love, The One with the Wedding Dresses, all of Ross’ divorces and the pastrami appendage. For Friends lovers this makes Miranda Larson’s parody 90 minutes of sentimental hilarity but for non-Friends fans, or certainly those who have not watched them again and again, many of the jokes will go over heads.
What doesn’t pass the audience by, however, are some of the standout performances in the show. Ally Retberg is outstanding as a perfect airy-fairy Phoebe and almost, an even better Janice. Sarah Goggin too delivers an excellent performance as the slightly neurotic and very bossy, Monica.
Friendsical is a niche musical – a whole heap of fun for devotees of the 90s sitcom but probably lost on those not so familiar with every episode.