A lot of laughs and refreshingly comfortable seating await you at Friend (The One with Gunther), playing at the Gilded Balloon at the Museum.
He'll be there for you
As a mahoosive fan of the Friends TV series, I had high hopes for this one-man show, which takes the ‘seventh friend’ Gunther and revisits all ten seasons from his point of view. We are first introduced to him as an emotional wreck in the immediate aftermath of the final episode, and he uses our sympathetic ears as an opportunity to go over the previous decade of longing for a Rachel that would never be his, and the five other ‘clowns’ that frequented his coffee shop.
Expect lots of impressions of the classic characters and side-characters and a Friends quote every ten seconds. Highlights for me were the game of ‘It’s all Relative’ with an unsuspecting audience member, the cleverly lyricked songs and Gunther’s own ‘alternative ending’.
While I could appreciate that the script was working incredibly hard to cram in basically every single inside joke you would hope for and achieved a good natural flow, I felt a little let down by the performer’s eggy accent that was 50% ‘American’ and 50% English Midlands. Unfortunately, I really wouldn’t have identified Gunther’s classic deadpan voice if I closed my eyes.
And while I get that the other impressions were ‘Gunther-doing-Janice’ or ‘Gunther-doing-Joey’, I still would have had more fun if they were a lot more accurately executed. Having said that, Joseph Maudsley does give us an excellent dose of energy and passion, and his comic-timing is on point.
I can highly recommend this show to casual fans of the show. There are a wealth of jokes and you will definitely get what is being referenced. But the uber-fans like me, with our obsession with detail and ability to perfectly recall the original delivery of every line, may find the re-enactments just a bit disappointing.
Either way, it really is a treat to bask in a fellow fan’s love for one of history’s greatest comedies. After all, he'll be there for you.