Even though it ended in 2004, Friends is one of those sitcoms that has captured the heart of a generation. Fun fact – Gunther (the owner of Central Perk) is the character that appeared in most episodes, outside the six main cast members.
Performed by Brendan Murphy, Friend is a whistle stop tour of all 10 seasons of Friends through the eyes of Gunther. Murphy puts a whole new spin on the iconic character, and what could have been if Rachel chose Gunther instead of Ross.
Impressively Murphy manages to take the audience from episode 1 where Rachel Green enters Central Perk after jilting her groom at the altar, right through to the final episode where Rachel gets off the plane.
Murphy adds in a bit of audience participation and a couple of songs to mix up the delivery. My personal favourite was the very beginning when a ‘completely random’ audience member was chosen to get on stage and re-enact Monica and Ross’ infamous routine.
You can clearly tell Murphy has a real love for the sitcom – either that, or he spent hours upon hours researching it. Some of the detail in the script is so minor that even some of the biggest Friends fans may not remember it.
I think it is fair to say although Friends is an iconic sitcom, some of its content hasn’t stood the test of time. Murphy makes reference to this, in that there weren’t many characters of colour in the series (given it’s set in New York, this is astonishing), and also how Monica being overweight in her youth was a cheap joke.
This is a nice little show for any Friends fans looking for some light relief, and a new twist on the series.
Friend is playing on stream.theatre until the 25th July with further information and tickets HERE!
Reviewer: Brian Madden
Reviewed: 18th July 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★