Paying homage to Joey, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Phoebe and Monica, the musical parody Friendsical is a loving tribute to one of the most successful shows in television history. Opening its UK tour, right here in Gloucestershire – at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, from Wednesday 17 to Saturday 20 July 2019.
Assuring us ‘they were on a break’ from rehearsals, SoGlos caught up with Sarah Goggin who plays Monica, and the show’s writer and director Miranda Larson.
Sarah: I thought I was pretty hardcore, but I don’t think I am now! Someone in the audition process said to me ‘oh my gosh, you’ve got season six Monica hair!’ and I was like, ‘do I?!’
Although, we do a warm-up game in rehearsals every day, which is a Friends themed game, and as someone playing Monica, I can’t lose! I’m slowly becoming a much bigger fan because I can’t bare to be beaten!
*Miranda:*I am a huge Friends fan, so I have one job as the writer to structure a story and make it a loving parody and tribute to the show, but also a duty as a fan to think ‘what would I like to see’ and ‘what would I not like’, and it’s been hard finding that balance.
Sarah: It’s a really difficult balance. In any other show you’d be given a character profile and you create who they are. But with Friendsical, these are six of the most famous characters in the entire world, so it’s slightly daunting!
It’s a mix of taking Courtney Cox’s intonation and characterisation, and putting them into my version of Monica. It’s not mimicking, but taking on the personality and characteristics and blending them into my body and voice.
Sarah: It’s something we had to get out of our heads, and we do actually address it with the audience at the start of the show. We are a loving parody in homage to the show, but we’re not an episode from the show. We just hope the audience gets on board and accepts that they’re watching a representation of Monica, and not Courtney Cox!
Miranda: When I was first approached about the idea, initially I was so excited, and then it was just utter dread, because it’s such a huge responsibility.
Miranda: The show’s producers had worked with me before and they remembered that I was a huge Friends fan, and I got this call out of the blue and they told me about the idea. I think I screamed down the phone saying ‘do not speak to anyone else! I’m doing this!’.
It was a really quick process for me too, I think I first started typing in October 2018 ready for a launch in 2019, so that’s not long. I’m a first generation Friends fan though, so it’s been part of my life for 25 years, it’s almost like I don’t need to look up a reference. I’m one of those fans. So finally that’s come in useful.
Miranda: I wrote the lyrics for all the songs, but I’m not a composer so we had Barrie Bignold write the music. We have a lot to cover, about 10 years of story within an hour and 50 minutes, so in a musical, songs are a really good device for moving the story on.
It means those lyrics become part of the storytelling and essentially are part of the script. The songs like ‘(He’s her) Lobster’ and ‘Richard’s Moustache’ have a lot of information in them, so they were really fun to write too.
By Melissa Hamblett
Friday 12 July 2019
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