59E59 and MOTOR present Olivier-nominated playwright James Fritz's unflinching look at the myths of modern love, loosely inspired by the beloved fictional 'Friends' couple. More…
Look at all those couples out there. Which one will leave? Which one will run? Which one is cheating on the other? Which one will die first? Him. Him. Her. Him. 'Ross & Rachel' tells the mind-bending, heartbreaking story of what happens when a couple that was always meant to be together, gets together. And stays together. Molly Vevers reprises her Edinburgh Fringe 2015 performance in this disquieting duologue for one performer.
"This very talented actress relies on wit, candidness and sentiment to tell her story and doesn’t hold back when giving audiences the complete picture – in both the joyful and difficult times...For an entertaining and eye-opening take on life, love and relationships, 'Ross and Rachel' is guaranteed to make audiences laugh and cry as they join Vevers for the ride. Get ready to meet this legendary couple in a whole new way!" Full Review
"Fritz’s excellent script neatly eviscerates the pop culture ideology of destiny and a world where love is equated with grand gestures and far-flung locales...Vevers flips between the internal and external voices of both Ross and Rachel, though she thankfully avoids impressions of Schwimmer and Aniston. Her expressive face and voice deftly tell us exactly who we’re hearing." Full Review
"A well-written and beautifully performed duologue for fans of 'Friends,' haters of 'Friends,' and those with no opinion either way…Vevers effortlessly switches back and forth between the two in one monologue, yet it's never confusing who is speaking…This isn't a 'Friends' parody, but a tragic look at a couple in which one is unhappy but doesn't know how to get out and the other idolizes his spouse so much that he doesn't even think of her as a person." Full Review
“A tightly written tour de force for Molly Vevers…She is quite good in this challenging role…Vevers is too fine an actress and the dialogue too complex to incorporate silly moves and allow for a nonsensical set design—it’s unnecessary and distracting. ’Ross & Rachel’ is strong and powerful, and it demands attention, and Vevers brings the words alive...She has a manner and a presence reminiscent of fine actresses from another era. This is her era, her time.” Full Review
"The play’s real cleverness lies not in its name, but in the fact that it isn’t necessarily about 'Friends' or Ross and Rachel at all. It could be, or not...It's an experience to watch Vevers command the stage, spiraling out of control with subtly increasing intensity. Despite some laughs, the play is actually quite dark. Fritz doesn't take us where general expectations would have us go, but where it counts -- in the middle of the road -- where it is messy and bitter and cold." Full Review
"Fritz’s writing is vivid and offers Vevers many opportunities to display a wide range of emotional choices, but even had I appreciated the references to 'Friends,' the material is too slender to have made much difference to me. It did, however, get me to watch some 'Friends' scenes on YouTube, an experience that, I regret to say, didn't inspire me to consider binge-watching its 118 hours, which would have occupied nearly five round-the-clock days of my life. I guess you had to be there." Full Review
"Ross and Rachel, you see, are both portrayed by the same actor (Molly Vevers), and just where one spouse starts and another ends is at the center of this clever, if overly complex, hour...That one can imagine Ross in his hospital bed, or Rachel at her office, flirting with a co-worker, speaks to the strength of Ms. Vevers’ performance. Dressed simply in a white bathrobe, and with no set pieces other than a shallow, black, reflecting pool, she effectively transports us." Full Review
"Without an authoritative performance, 'Ross & Rachel' would be unpalatably sour, incomprehensible, or both. It takes a few minutes to get into Vevers' rhythm, but once one does, her fierce and uncompromising dedication to Fritz's words carry one past any objections...The highly unpleasant, starkly observant 'Ross & Rachel' is more memorable as a calling card than for the work itself. Nevertheless, there is plenty of talent here -- a distinctive writer's voice and a commanding performer." Full Review
"Fritz’s writing is at its best when deep feelings shine through the character’s self-absorption. Far too often, though, the dramatic stakes are lowered by the fact that no one seems to really care…For the audience to stay riveted, the characters need to have something more to lose than just their TV illusions of marital utopia. The play does provide a showcase for the dynamic Molly Vevers…Her disarmingly youthful face belies a brooding intellect and startling emotional range." Full Review
"Overall the production provides an interesting perspective on coupling and de-coupling…Fritz’s writing is at times compelling and energetic. Through the direction and staging of Thomas Martin it becomes confusing, illogical, monochromatic, and amorphous...The director’s and actor’s choices don’t quite enhance but indeed distract from Vivers’ overall fine, but under-modulated portrayals of the two characters." Full Review
“The play’s first moments are exhilarating, the cataract of words issuing from Ms. Vevers’s mouth suggesting a psychological detonation...But once the script settles into more familiar rhythms and then into fantasy sequences, the intensity of that language dwindles, and the excitement lessens. The arguments become more obvious, and the postmodern reliance on once-popular characters comes to seem cute rather than particularly trenchant.” Full Review
“Be warned. ‘Ross and Rachel’ is a bit like airline food (when we used to get it) – edible, but god knows what’s on the plate…Molly Vevers turns emotion and character on a dime, though with no character distinguishing variation...A decision to break the fourth wall also confuses. The actress’s investment is wrenching. On the whole, Director Thomas Martin paces too quickly and indulges in hysteria too often. When staccato speech establishes atmosphere, however, he effectively helms.” Full Review
for a previous production "Vevers has the entire audience captivated on her every word, leaning forward in their seats with hands over mouths. It’s a performance which has the audience actively doubting the very ideals they’ve been taught to love in TV series across the years and channels, and it’s an amazingly gripping piece of theatre...Fritz’s script unravels the polished perfection of the couple with impeccable skill...So harrowing and yet so beautiful." Full Review
for a previous production "James Fritz’s startling new play…It uses pop culture as a way of exploring common fears and anxieties...For those who do know 'Friends' it’s cleverly laced with references in a way that enhances its preoccupation with the passing of time…Vevers gives a brilliantly measured performance, subtly defining both people, while beautifully handing the characters' gradual unraveling. Thomas Martin’s production is confident and assured." Full Review
for a previous production "The beauty of James Fritz’s new play is the way he sticks a knife into a sitcom-styled happy-ever-after to tear a bleeding hole in all of the stories we tell ourselves to make our relationships work in spite of our doubts. It’s a fiercely sharp yet tender anatomy of the lie of love…Martin keeps a tight leash on his production’s tone, pulling back on sentimentality to emphasize the bruised, dull pain…Vevers is superb...Her skill is in always keeping the characters distinct." Full Review
for a previous production "If the liberal sprinkling of pop culture makes this piquant, the gender politics and wasted lives give it plenty of real-world clout....It's heartbreaking: a relationship that should not have been resuscitated...Our familiarity allows Fritz free reign and some of his writing is just level-up stuff: pained, resentful, resigned; a neat blend of cynicism, whimsy and sincerity....That's 'Friends' ruined, then." Full Review
for a previous production "A startlingly inventive new play…Vevers’ performance is like an act of spiritual possession: intense and concentrated…The sudden escalation of dramatic stakes isn’t quite believable, but this is forgiven in Martin’s sombre staging which has the ritualistic, seance-like quality of a painkiller-addled nightmare…'Ross & Rachel' makes the trashily familiar profoundly strange, using popular culture as the shared narrative reference point through which we understand ourselves." Full Review
for a previous production "A twisted, nightmarish version of 'Friends' and other idealistic romance stories...There are many twisted 'Friends' references tied into the plot, which highlight how unsuitable Ross and Rachel actually are for each other...The script is very well written and Vevers shines. The final effect is darkly funny, whilst being utterly depressing and leaving a distinct lack of hope for relationships as the fairy tale creations we once dreamed. This is a serious reassessment of romance." Full Review
for a previous production "'Ross & Rachel' is almost too cynical…Where Fritz’s play really excels, however, is in simultaneously probing the myth-making we engage in in our personal relationships, and the myth-making pop culture romance peddle...How sit-com clichés come to define real love-lives. 'Ross & Rachel' takes a fictional couple, and makes them look like a real couple that’s spent too much time watching fictional couples. Which is something we can all recognize." Full Review
for a previous production "A smartly put together and sometimes pleasingly dark show that explores coupledom as a mutual support system – and sometimes as a prison...Performed with a satisfying restraint by Molly Vevers…Gratifyingly, Fritz plays cleverly on our familiarity with Ross and Rachel but without over-playing it…The plotting and Ross’s determination that they should never part doesn’t quite ring true, but Fritz lays out some hard truths about being together and alone." Full Review
for a previous production "Vevers gives a powerhouse performance…The script’s structure takes some getting used to – it’s a bit difficult to tell exactly who’s supposed to be speaking at the beginning of the play…There are a few moments where the script could be more concise, but Fritz’s writing is generally astute and insightful...'Ross & Rachel' is a well-crafted piece of theatre that can be a bit erratic at times but it compels more than it confuses and its cynicism is refreshing." Full Review
for a previous production "'Ross & Rachel' is most troubling and effective when it tackles its subjects hardest...Vevers plays her leads with exasperating passion, though sometimes her shoutiness can work to the detriment of what she is actually trying to say. In these moments, her anger is misplaced. Thankfully, though, 'Ross & Rachel' for the most part unmasks the clichés of marriage. We must be careful what we wish for: for all of its joys, there is work involved in the processes of love." Full Review
See it if you remember Friends and want to know what happened to them 20 years later. An interesting look at relationships & what happens over time
Don't see it if you prefer straightforward drama. I loved the use of one actress to play both roles. Fascinating.
See it if you like intense small-theater experiences. A fairly powerful and sometimes disturbing show, very well acted.
Don't see it if you don't like one-woman shows, tiny theaters, or frank talk about marriage and death.
See it if You want to see an actress deliver a marvelous performance. It's interesting and short (less than an hour).
Don't see it if You prefer a cheerful show with more than one actor and an easy to follow narrative. This play was confusing at times and serious/intense.
See it if You enjoy plays performed by one actor who performs multiple roles. You enjoy plays that force you to figure out which character is speaking
Don't see it if You aren't in the mood to watch a confusing drama about serious illness and the pain it causes in many aspects for the ill and the partner.
See it if you enjoy an "alternative" theater experience which tells a story in an unusual way by numerous characters, all presented by one actor.
Don't see it if you need a full cast to tell you a story from many points of view; you can't follow a complicated story line which is presented quickly.
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