Friend (The One with Gunther) is showing at the Gilded Balloon at the Museum and is a comedic show based around Friends from the perspective of Gunther, claiming to be the 7th friend.
Friend (The One with Gunther) is very much a comedy show cleverly weaved together with a strong amount of physicality and comic timing by Joseph Maudsley, who demonstrates that he is a master of subtle and effective humour. There are a few moments in the show that are particularly funny, but this isn’t the strength of this show. The strength of this show lies in the clever composition written by Brendan Murphy, the effective way that the humour is built up across the course of the show, with each joke and humorous observation layered on top of the one’s preceding it. Joseph Maudsley‘s characterisation of Gunther seems to fit perfectly within the context of the show, both delightfully bitchy and mildly scathing. The resentment of Gunther’s situation is natural and never overstays it’s welcome.
Maudsley doesn’t just perform as Gunther however, channelling other characters from Friends all seen through Gunther’s eyes. The characterisations are caricatures, but it works well because it is Gunther performing these and they are consistent with his perspective. Maudsley pokes fun at some of the less than flattering parts of the show including some of the badly aged jokes and reactions that do not stand up to modern scrutiny, Chandler’s father as a cited example.
Highlights of the show include Maudsley performing a version of the opening theme of Friends which is brilliantly articulated and expressed physically. Another highlight of the show includes the song parodies that express how cleverly Friend (The One with Gunther) is researched and articulated. There are a variety of props that are used to great effect. Maudsley himself is a performer with fantastic stage presence and he is a master of the craft.
Friend (The One with Gunther) is an hour well spent and should be on your list of shows to see at this year’s Fringe.