Ross and Rachel, Elizabeth and Mr Darcy, Robin and Ted, Mulder and Scully. What happens when two people destined for each other finally get their ‘happy ending’? What happens when she gets off the plane?
Which one secretly loves the other more? Which one will be the first to run away? Which is the first to die?
This is what James Fritz’s new one woman play ‘Ross and Rachel’ explores. It’s a heart-breaking story, especially for one like myself who is a hopeless romantic and a firm believer in truv (truv is a word I invented which is an elision of the words true and love.)
Molly Vevers is a truly captivating story-teller, playing both Ross and Rachel effortlessly. She owned the room, her only props being a mug and paddling pool. Having one woman play both characters really demonstrated the loss of the individual when in a relationship. Rachel has doubts and secrets just like any other human but for her it’s literally like keeping them from her other half. Have you ever been in a relationship where your friends stop seeing you as two individuals but suddenly you have become _______ and _______? Have you forever lost your independence? This is especially demeaning if there’s persistently an and in front your name. Fritz captures this phenomenon eloquently.
The play isn’t literally about Ross and Rachel from ‘Friends’ if any super-fans are wondering. Fritz simply uses the idea of this couple. This is very clever because any Friends fan will instantly understand what this couple is. They are the nerd and the prom queen. The quirky, lovable couple who were destined since episode one. This does away with any stodgy exposition giving the play an excellent flow.
Just a quick nod to the lighting design by Douglas Green. Most people won’t have noticed this at all (which is totally the desired outcome!) but it was beautifully subtle and changed perfectly with the emotion of the piece.
Well…it was thought-provoking if not mildly depressing. A bitter-sweet ending to the 21st century Romeo and Juliet.
Ross and Rachel is on at the Battersea Arts Centre till May 13th
-Special thank you to Battersea Art Centre whom I won these tickets from. V.enjoyable first visit!