90s nostalgia comes full force in FRIENDS: The One Where They Sing! (The Unauthorized Musical Parody). There were ten seasons of the hit TV show — if you've burned through all 236 episodes on Netflix already, bravo — but this show focuses on the season that stole our hearts: season one. See this 90-minute musical comedy (featuring an all-Chicago cast) now at the MCL Chicago stage.
The six actors do a great job of taking direct dialogue and using satire to comment on the series. You're watching a group of super fans put their own spin on a show practically everyone loves (no pressure, right?), but because that love is so universally known, everyone in the intimate theater is already on board. It's fans watching fans, and everyone is having fun, especially the actors.
The six actors go all out to look the part of Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Monica, Phoebe and Joey. Some sport wigs, others have special haircuts, but they all wear the lovely fashion trends of the mid-90s. That's right — they've got jean short overalls, sweater vests, high waist pants, cotton turtlenecks, and don't forget about Rachel's pooftacular wedding dress.
They also pick up the mannerisms of the characters very well. I mean, could they BE any funnier? Some do solid impressions, others nail the core qualities without having to sound just like them. Everyone has their shining moment, especially during their solo musical numbers.
You'll be really impressed with the music in this show. The venue, MCL Chicago, is known for musical improv in the city, so I knew we'd hear some good numbers. Plus, the live band adds that extra oomph. The group is limited with choreography due to the tight space and set pieces, but they still went for it, because what's a musical without dancing?
What makes this musical stand out from others is the fact that the actors break the fourth wall throughout the show. That's "biz talk" for talking to the audience and interacting with them. Joey (Nate Curlott) especially stands out with this, hitting on women in the audience with a loveable charm.
As expected, FRIENDS fanatics will love this show. However, because they start with season one, it's OK if you've never really watched FRIENDS. You don't need to know Paolo, Janice or Marcel to get the inside jokes. You DO need to know that the venue is BYOB, so pack some drinks so you can play along with their drinking game.
FRIENDS: The One Where They Sing! (The Unauthorized Musical Parody) is in no way, shape, or form related to Warner Brothers Entertainment, NBC UNIVERSAL, or Kauffman and Crane.
This show is getting a lot of buzz, so buy tickets before they sell out!
- Playing Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through July 29
- Venue: MCL Chicago (3110 N. Sheffield Avenue)
- Tickets $20