An audience member summed it all up best, writer Miranda Larson says, when they described her musical parody Friendsical as a “love letter to Friends”.
You can judge for yourself when the show plays Worthing’s Pavilion Theatre from Tuesday, October 1 to Saturday, October 5.
For Miranda, the starting point to the whole show is that she was – and is – a huge fan of Friends.
“I am the first generation. It came out just as I was leaving university, and at that time, it was all about 20-somethings finding their way in the world. It was something you could relate to. It was six friends and we all had six friends like them, so there was that degree of recognition.
“But there was also a degree of aspiration. They were six friends living very glamorous lives in a very glamorous part of New York. They were like me, but you also thought how cool it would be to live like them.
“I was hooked from the very first episode I watched, and I am still hooked and still watching it now.”
And out of that love came the musical parody.
Playing everyone’s favourite friends are Jordan Fox (Joey), Sarah Goggin (Monica), Jamie Lee-Morgan (Ross), Thomas Mitchells (Chandler), Ally Retberg (Phoebe) and Charlotte Elisabeth York (Rachel). They will be joined by Duncan Burt (Ensemble) and Rebecca Withers (Ensemble).
When Ross’ wife leaves him for another woman, he fears he will never find love again. But then Rachel runs back into his life... will he end up with his one true love?
Featuring original songs including (He’s her) Lobster!, Richard’s Moustache and You’re Over Me? When Were You Under Me?, the gang take on naked Thursdays, a power cut, and a dinosaur convention.
“Friends has got a whole new generation of fans who come along to the show. We get a lot of families coming to see it. The parents had watched it the first time round and the children are discovering it now.
“And when I watch the show now, I still find it funny. The humour still works, and that’s all part of what we are trying to replicate in the parody. Every third line there is something played for laughs. But what was really lovely with the show was that they did also tackle serious issues and they did have some tender moments, and that is also what we are trying to get across. We mock ourselves and we have fun, but we do have those moments too that have heart. Our cast do it amazingly well.
“I was working with the producers on another show, and they had an idea of doing a parody, and they remembered that I was a huge Friends fan, and they just dangled the idea. And I thought it would just be an amazing thing to do, especially as a fan myself. Everyone is willing them to do a film or a reunion, and this is our way of carrying on without the movie in the meantime. Obviously, we are not the movie, but we are giving people access to that world of Friends without having to wait for a reunion.
“There were 236 episodes across ten years, so it was a question of where on earth do you start, so I just started in the usual way when you start writing a script. You have to think whose story is it, you have to think what they are wanting and what their goal is. I went for the story of Ross and Rachel. It is essentially Ross’ narrative of his love affair with Rachel, with the stories of the others intertwined.
“Obviously there are different levels of parody, and you can have extreme parody where everthing is really, really exaggerated, but we wanted this to be a celebration. There are moments where we push it but we also bring it back. It is done with affection.”
Tickets for Friendsical are available from the Worthing Theatres box office on 01903 206206 and online at worthingtheatres.co.uk.