Review: Friendsical, New Theatre, Cardiff

Rachel Howells attends Cardiff’s New Theatre for the opening night of Friendsical.

It was no doubt a difficult evening for the cast and crew of Friendsical bringing their opening night to Cardiff’s New Theatre so shortly after the announcement of the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The news events certainly touched everyone in attendance and a two-minute silence was observed before the production began.

An original, parody musical inspired by the beloved US TV Comedy series, Friends, Friendsical begins as the TV series did with Rachel running into the coffee shop in her wedding dress. The musical then takes many different directions to try and encompass the whole 10 years of Friends within a two-hour show. While this approach works for a Friends fan, it easily loses someone who is not knowledgeable on the series characters, classic moments and plotlines.

However, the inclusion of several musical numbers gives the presentation a fun boppy twist, creating potential of the songs themselves becoming singalong favourites.

Tim Edwards nailed his performance of Chandler with all the arm gestures and vocal prowess, while Nelson Bettencourt held the show together as Ross giving a great characterisation and keeping the audience laughing as the musical fell to pieces around him.

Kimberly Wyatt was hilarious as the special guest gate-crashing several scenes as she looked for a special guest role. There were also many times female ensemble member Olivia Williamson stole the show as she moved from one scene to another, and Tanveer Singh Dagenham delighted many with his performance of Gunther.

Fans of Friends may never get the TV reunion they hope for, but this fun throwback frenzy is probably the next best thing. It runs at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday.

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