STAGE REVIEW: Friendsical - at the Festival Theatre, Malvern, from Monday, September 16 to Saturday, September 22, 2019.

THIS was very much the right place, but sadly the wrong time!

Definitely the required venue but the offering proved to be an excuse for a total assault on the ears by a cast that shouted and shrieked its way through speech and song with such shrill voices it was a welcome relief when the end came and to escape through the exit door.

The show is described as a parody of the hit American tv series, Friends, which I have never seen or wanted to, and if there was further cause to keep the status quo then this absurd and appalling theatrical event provided it.

Towards the end of the show one of the characters uttered the immortal line - ‘This is the worst show yet’. Can’t disagree there. He was spot on.

The theatre was less than half full on opening night, and laughter too was a scarce commodity. It’s hard to believe matters will improve.

As for it being a parody, which more or less means the subject is a part imitation of a writer, artist or genre done in such a way as to make fun of or comment on the original work.

These can be exaggerated in performance to offer a humorous effect but Friendsical, which added to the agony by trying to be passed off as a musical, was more than two hours of pure and total tosh.

The plot, not that it really has one, involves half-a-dozen friends switching from studio set to home - having affairs, breakdowns in marriage and mind and along the way encountering some very bizarre relationships and characters.

It appears the basic premise from writer Miranda Larson is to have a Friends character as a script writer getting together his five friends from the series to replay the relationships surrounding the show’s main couple.

Are the actors playing themselves, or heading into a time warp of a parallel world?

The ‘story’ is utterly confusing, the jokes are scattered and lost on stony ground, and the songs penned by Barrie Bignold are all of a boring repetitive and similar pop vein, and screeched at the audience through a below par sound-mix quality which not only threatened the ear drum but also left a lot to be desired of the cast’s diction.

Yes, it is bright, the players are enthusiastic, but offers nothing substantial to hold it all together.

In essence, it lacks any point and that’s two hours of our lives we’ll never get back!