Review: Ross and Rachel, Battersea Arts Centre

“I’ll be there for you…”

Can anyone of a certain generation (well, my generation) hear that Rembrandts theme song and not want to clap along, even if just mentally? Such is the depth of the cultural penetration that Friends managed over its decade of television dominance and then subsequent re-run overkill, that even someone who hasn’t watched an episode of the comedy stands a chance of recognising the names Ross and Rachel. Which is partly why playwright James Fritz has so named his latest show.

A big hit in Edinburgh last summer, Ross and Rachel is now midway though a UK tour and its entire run at the Battersea Arts Centre. And it’s not hard to see why – people may come because they’ve some affection to their Geller/Green memories but they’ll be hooked by Molly Vevers’ performance. Alone onstage, she gives us both sides of the story of a couple whose identities have been subsumed into one, their relationship – and the myths around it – having become bigger than either of them.

Cleverly, the couple here are never named – they’re in their 40s now, having spent most of their 20 on and off (on a break?!) and everyone, including him, believes they’re the perfect fit. She’s not so sure though, contemplating an affair, and when a brain tumour intervenes in their happy-ever-after, their responses are diverse to say the least. Fritz has plenty to say about modern love and how notions of togetherness are shaped, does ‘the one’ truly exist, is your lobster out there waiting for you? Vevers holds the audience firmly in her grasp as we find out.

Running time: 60 minutes (with interval)
Photo: Alex Brenner
Booking until 25th June, then touring to Incoming Festival, New Diorama; Old Fire Station, Oxford; The Lowry; Salford; and Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol

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