2024-02-22T17:35:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
2024-02-14T12:38:00Z By Keeley Rodgers
That famous orange sofa, Chandler and Joey’s recliners, Central Perk - The Friends Experience at the NEC in Birmingham has it all and more.
More than a quarter of a century ago, the producers behind Friends had no idea it would go on to become one of the most globally loved TV series.
Following the lives of Rachel (Jennifer Aniston), Monica (Courteney Cox), Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow), Ross (David Schwimmer), Joey (Matt LeBlanc) and Chandler (Matthew Perry), the show had an impressive 236 episodes aired across ten seasons.
And now, thanks to a brilliant collaboration, fans can relive some of its most iconic moments. The infamous sofa pivot on the staircase anyone?!
Even if you don’t consider yourself a hardcore fan, the experience is full of fascinating behind-the-scenes details and props from some of Rachel’s many wigs and hairpieces, to the story behind the cast’s outfit choices and much more.
Of course no Friends experience would be complete without the famed coffee house, Central Perk, which has also been recreated, complete with the legendary keyboard.
One of the highlights for me was a giant ‘who’s dated whom’ flow chart outlining the character’s many love interests. All I can say is that it must have taken a lot of time and work to put together - it’s incredibly detailed, and complex.
Recreated sets and lots of photo opportunities
There were gasps and squeals (me? maybe a little) as we walked around some of the recreated sets including Monica’s kitchen complete with that famous trifle, and Chandler and Joey’s apartment where you can try out their recliners and have a game of table football. And for the top fans, there’s a memorable prop in the fridge which I won’t give away.
As you take it all in, there are clips playing on screens around you, which brings the sets and props to life, and you hear from the show’s producers and costume designer, learning more about what went on behind the sets to create one of the most successful series of all time.
We had such a giggle recreating different scenes, particularly the ‘heads peering through that purple door’ moment.
And of course no Friends experience would be complete without the famed coffee house, Central Perk, which has also been recreated, complete with the legendary keyboard. I can confirm my rendition of Phoebe’s Smelly Cat will not make the cut. You can grab an apron and head behind the counter to serve your guests or relax on the iconic orange sofa; immersing yourself in the fun of the show.
Those behind the experience have done a great job in providing plenty of photo opportunities throughout, starting with that beloved orange sofa and the recognisable fountain. We had such a giggle recreating different scenes, particularly the ‘heads peering through that purple door’ moment. Then you can print out your favourites at the end, or opt for digital versions. There’s a generous-sized gift shop too with lots of merchandise and goodies to take home with you.
Running at the NEC, Birmingham, until 3rd September, this is the UK debut of The FRIENDS™ Experience which has also visited US and EU cities including Paris, Brussels, Chicago and Boston. And after experiencing it ourselves, we’re pretty sure that, like the show, it’s going to be a big hit.