Friendsical/Malvern Theatres


BURSTING with a raw and relentless energy, this parody of the hit television series showcases the very best that modern musical theatre has to offer.

Inspired by the wacky antics of the gang in Friends, this is a roller coaster of a ride that from the outset pins you right back in your seat.

So. It’s hats off to the young cast and top marks for staying the course in what must be a gruelling and demanding two hours on the boards.

But – and you have probably already guessed that there’s one of those coming – the shrill, endlessly hysterical dialogue does indeed become rather wearing after only a few minutes’ exposure.

Yes, we know the whole thing is an affectionate Michael-extraction of the telly show, but the fact remains that there is only so much cookie, zany American hyperactive humour a non-American human being can take.

Because it just goes on and on… and on. And on.

The women’s voices jump octaves to hit chandelier shattering heights and the men – and they are men, don’t we know it – start doing what men always do and just shout louder and deeper.

The overall effect is a barrage of noise which obscures the content of the exchanges. What is actually being said?

After a while, with your head spinning in this cacophonous maelstrom, you start yearning for some form of rescue… the arrival of the interval or perhaps an early trip to the gents.

That said, a welcome break arrives just in time in the form of a brilliantly executed song and dance number that really shows off the cast’s prowess. But then it’s back to the nerve-shredding shrillness once more.

Nevertheless, this is a supremely talented crew that makes the most of Darren Carnall’s inspired choreography, many of the moves having a razor’s sharpness you could shave with.

And it is this factor – together with a tasty, finely chopped grunge guitar chords soundtrack – that just about saves the day. Friendsical runs until Saturday (September 21).

John Phillpott