WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE by NEIL MONAGHAN

Written by Neil Monaghan / Reviewed by Ria Saha

As the title suggests “With Friends Like These” Neil Monaghan has come up with a beautiful, script about Simon Wade-Johnson a struggling actor, who has fought against the odds, and has just landed a major role in a Hollywood blockbuster.

The actual story of the play starts when he invites his five best mates from college, and their partners, to spend a weekend at the home of his younger brother Gerry, an uber-successful porn producer. It’s the friends’ first reunion since Simon’s ill-fated one-man show was laughed off-stage in Edinburgh 15 years ago and he is keen to flaunt his change of fortune.

But along with big news, Simon has another major announcement planned for the weekend – he intends to ask his girlfriend Corinne to marry him. A completely perfect time one can expect in life. But the story actually starts showing twists when Simon reveals his secret love with Samantha, one of the other guests.

But does Samantha have the same feeling for Simon? Well, Neil Monaghan has a beautiful story for his script filled with twists and romance. So, Samantha shows up at the magnificent Surrey mansion accompanied by a handsome new squeeze, Simon faces his relationship nightmares once again.

Once again, slowly the rivalries between the guests who are also Simon’s friends resurface, the veneer of friendly interaction slowly descends into acrimony and resentment.

To sum up some of the issues:

  • Alpha-female Ruth may laugh off David’s reluctance to marry her, but underneath it’s eating her up.
  • The Mikes (Big and Little) are battling their own demons and commitment issues, triggered by the latter are lust for Lee.
  • Commercial-lawyer Richard is keen to parade his latest conquest, but Masha is rather less of a trophy when she finds out about his philandering past.
  • Coke-head architect Nigel and eco-business-guru Suki soon find that their perfect marriage is not so perfect after all.

So, we will have to watch how well Neil Monaghan wraps the complications and sets the story straight. But while going through the script I felt that it was simply a great rom-com, with complication but with the best arrangements. I felt that I was reading a different adaption of the great TV series FRIENDS, and I felt if turned into a movie will be great, amazing, fantastic, funny, and emotional.

We all make mistakes every day. None of us are perfect. Sometimes, we do things we would prefer not to do unintentionally and unknowingly. Other times, it is because we are distracted or even tired – busy being busy – and we mishandle a situation. Others, it is because of a lack of planning or foresight. Or it may have been intended but without seriously considering the consequences.  

Neil Monaghan has also come up with the story of Simon’s perfect break. But how will Simon react when he discovers that his golden ticket is down to Gerry’s skullduggery rather than any raw talent of his own?

There are many variations, but the reality is that we all err. Even when we do everything right and with good intention an unsatisfactory outcome can result. We are more inclined to make mistakes when tired or over-busy, so try and minimize unnecessary activities.   

“With Friends Like These” is absolutely great script and I feel it has worked beautifully on every perspective. To quote a few lines from the script as these are my favorite:

With a mischievous look in his eye, he begins a rendition

of ‘With A Little Help From My Friends’

Suddenly he breaks into a boogie-woogie rhythm.

Everyone joins him at the piano – finally a celebration

of FRIENDSHIP!

I felt amidst the chaos, the script is absolutely fantastic, and TRUE FRIENDS are bound to be together and come across whatever problems appear in front of them.

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