The End of Longing

Theatre, Comedy
2 out of 5 stars
3 out of 5 stars
(44user reviews)
 (© Helen Maybanks)
1/10
© Helen MaybanksChristina Cole (Stevie) Lloyd Owen (Joseph) Matthew Perry (Jack) & Jennifer Mudge (Stephanie)
 (© Helen Maybanks)
2/10
© Helen MaybanksJennifer Mudge (Stephanie) & Matthew Perry (Jack)
 (© Helen Maybanks)
3/10
© Helen MaybanksMatthew Perry (Jack) & Lloyd Owen (Joseph)
 (© Helen Maybanks)
4/10
© Helen MaybanksMatthew Perry (Jack) & Lloyd Owen (Joseph)
 (© Marc Brenner)
5/10
© Marc BrennerMatthew Perry & Lindsay Posner
 (© Marc Brenner)
6/10
© Marc BrennerLindsay Posner and Christina Cole
 (© Marc Brenner)
7/10
© Marc BrennerLloyd Owen & Christina Cole
 (© Marc Brenner)
8/10
© Marc BrennerLloyd Owen
 (© Marc Brenner)
9/10
© Marc BrennerMatthew Perry
 (© Marc Brenner)
10/10
© Marc BrennerMatthew Perry & Jennifer Mudge

Matthew Perry's debut play is thin but heartfelt

Let’s not fanny around here. You wouldn’t expect David Hare to do a very good job playing Chandler Bing from ‘Friends’ and it’s almost insanely optimistic to think Matthew Perry would turn out to be one of the greatest playwrights of the modern era.

‘The End of Longing’, written by and starring Perry, is not a good play. It is an extremely literal work that feels like a sitcom script on a stage, not a theatrical piece of writing. It concerns four friends, one of whom, Jack (Perry) is an alcoholic, who falls for Jennifer Mudge’s Stephanie, a prostitute. Though Mudge certainly gives the best performance of the night, Perry-the-playwright’s depiction of a sex worker is at best glib, at worst misogynist. The other two friends are borderline ‘Friends’: the neurotic woman (Christina Cole’s Stevie) and the dopey-but-kindly man (Lloyd Owen’s Joseph) are so thinly sketched that it’s hard not to think of them as roughly equivalent to Monica and Joey. The icing on the cake is Perry’s peculiar performance, which involves him barking every line in a gruff monotone that weirdly reminded me of bureau chief Gordon Cole in ‘Twin Peaks’.

Nevertheless ‘The End of Longing’ has something. Perry’s real-life battles with alcohol have been well documented, and it’s clear that Jack’s experiences are heavily based upon the author’s own. His demons are the motor of Lindsay Posner’s crisp production: despite his distracting delivery, Perry’s performance is surprisingly moving, if only because it feels mercilessly honest. Jack cuts a pitiful figure, but there’s not much wallowing: the play is often amusing, rarely preachy and always aware of the Kerouacian romance of the sauce.

It’s still not a good play, though, and it’s hard to imagine any producer in their right mind staging it without the author as star. But the fact is, if you’re a fan of Matthew Perry, seeing him flagellate himself in a reasonably amusing fashion for your entertainment is probably not a terrible use of your money. This probably all sounds like damning with faint praise, but there is a genuine bravery to ‘The End of Longing’ that just lifts it above simple vanity project.

By: Andrzej Lukowski

Posted:

Average User Rating

3.4 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:13
  • 4 star:9
  • 3 star:8
  • 2 star:12
  • 1 star:2
LiveReviews|44
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1 of 1 found helpful

I truly loved this play. Certainly the most entertaining of the 7 shows I have been to in the west end in the last six months. Of course I read the reviews but these seemed to be at odds with both my experience and  with the reaction of the audience. I came out feeling exuberant and just in the mood to go and get drunk and knock a girl up!

1 of 1 found helpful

Not a great play with not such great jokes. The acting for me was awful, forgetting lines is a straight up no no. Everything seemed to be very forced and quite slow. The loud music in between sets was over bearing. The script was shocking, its like they forgot every word apart from the F word. 

1 of 2 found helpful

Saw it last night.... Well the first half.... I left during the interval as it was clichéd tripe going nowhere... I cannot remember something so badly conceived or written... It appears the old adage of 'Its not what you know but who you know' still gets you work in theatre land....

Tastemaker

a hugely entertaining play (not for the kids or those with dainty ears) that was worth cancelling my other plans for. The cast are phenomenal, and even though Matthew Perry stole the show, lots of credit have to go to the rest of the cast as well for their great performances. The play was funny but also had a more serious message to it. The comic timing was spot on, but that was expected from such a legend. Post show, Matthew Perry was of course swarmed and bombarded (even abused and emotionally blackmailed) by some of his adoring fans outside. I don't know whether to feel sorry for him, or for the fans who waited an hour or more. Either way, a good night out and I would definitely recommend it.


Mathew Perry was sick on the day we came to watch the show, so we were already disappointed. I paid £100 for 2 tickets, which is very overpriced for a play with only 4 actors and limited stage decorations (the actors were even moving the props themselves), the story and acting was so so. Not worth making an effort to go out for but something i'd watch on my sofa for free.


After reading some mixed reviews about this show, I have to say I went in with an open mind and was pleasantly surprised. Perhaps the characters were a little too obvious and over the top, but the acting was very good. Being sat right at the front made it all very intense, there were a couple of scenes of single monologue which were very moving and acted with feeling and emotion. Matthew Perry gave an awesome performance, if perhaps a little OTT on occasion, but he portrayed his character well, and there was clearly a message and a moral to this play, which was far more important than the one-liner witty jokes. I feel sorry for Matthew Perry to have been given a fair amount of bad reviews for this play. Perhaps people are going to see it expecting a Broadway musical, which it is not, nor trying to be. If you want to sit back and watch a play which will leave you thinking afterwards then this is for you, if you want a show with singing and dancing, then go see the book of mormon.


Saw it last night and it was very enjoyable. I'd say ignore the mixed reviews below and go make up your own mind. 

Tastemaker

Had an enjoyable evening seeing this play. If you like Friends then would say this is right up your street as in parts it felt like a sitcom. The acting was generally good and I was impressed that Matthew Perry had decided to write and star in a play about a subject close to home.

My only complaint would be that the characters were a little too stereotypical and two dimensional so would have been nice if more background had been added.

Tastemaker

We all knew how the play was going to end. That's fine. The acting was a bit flat at times, but to be fair I think it was kind of meant to be that way. It added to the overall play and fit the characters perfectly (IMHO). I do agree the music during the transitions was a tad loud. 


Just please take heed, if you are sitting in the balcony, the seats are very narrow. I was going to have my knees in the back of the lovely lady in front of me, but lucky for us we we able to shimmy ourselves, but I was sitting at an angle. 


I wouldn't pay £40 for a ticket, but was fine with the £15 price tag.



Enjoyable comedic play, even though towards the second part it concentrated more on negative scenarios with fewer laughs


Watched it last night and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It is important to understand that going into the play if one is expecting something very intellectual, they will be disappointed. This is a simple story, interspersed with good jokes and lovable characters. I liked the light hearted story, the acting was fine and it was generally good 2 hours. There was nothing "wow!" about the show but there was nothing terribly wrong with it either. 


It's indescribable how absolutely amazing this play was! How perry takes inspiration from past experiences in his life and puts it in a whitty, hilarious and incredibly clever play is very admirable. It's genius how he could play Jack a completely different character to the well known- well loved Chandler Bing, yet there was still moments of his slick one liners added in for all of the friends fans. To say the writing was 'good' is the biggest understatement of the century, it's pure genius! The four characters complement each other perfectly and the chemistry on stage is electric. Would see this again as many times as I could, and would thoroughly recommend anyone to see it. I was thoroughly entertained!

Written by Ellie Ball


If you like deep, challenging plays with complex characters, this obviously isn't the show for you. My boyfriend and I went to see this last night and thought it was great; funny in parts and very easy to watch. Matthew Perry did seem to shout his lines (which we thought was a little odd) but you get used to it quickly so it doesn't detract from the play. Overall I thought it was a good show which left you leaving the theatre in high spirits. Just what you need after a long day at work!


Like most people in the audience I went solely because Chandler from friends was in it. However I actually really enjoyed it. The play is funny and nicely written (if slightly overacted).  I do agree with a previous post though the music between sets was overly loud and I'm not sure why they did this.


DISCLAIMER: This is a long review even though I tried to keep it short. I Could have gone on forever. So, bottom line, bad deliverance of the lines. Made play so cringy. I still love Matthew Perry although I'm heartbroken that he hasn't had good reviews.


I am a die hard Friends fan and therefore could not wait to go and support Perry the first chance I could. Let's be  clear here, I was in no way expecting to see 'Chandler Bing'. I just wanted to go see an artist I basically grew up with, live in action. 

However, I also have a great passion for theatre and respect for Matthew Perry so I need to be as honest as I can here.

In my opinion, the play itself could have been hilarious. I loved the concept of the play and the fact that the characters are actually quite simple... You'd expect each character to have a tragic sob story as to why they got to where they are today, but they don't. As simple as that. Life is hard as hell at times and that should be enough. 
So it was all very interesting and funny and tragic 


BUT


THE ACTING! Whaaaaat the hell happened theeeerre? I cringed so bad. Made me happy I wasn't sat in the front row as I had originally planned to. I didn't want my childhood hero accidentally catching me cringe! I almost felt happy as I could honestly say I was a better actress than half the cast and would have pulled this off a hell of alot better than them! I wish I could have auditioned! 


Forget what anybody else wrote in the reviews, for some reason no body has mentioned the main problem with the acting. THEY WERE SHOUTING EVERY LINE!!!!!! Now. The Playhouse theatre was designed for more personal and intimate plays. In such theatres, you aren't supposed to wear mics. That's the whole point of them. So, you need to rely on your vocal chords and make sure you speak loudly. enunciate your words and make sure people in the last row can hear you loud and clear. Doing this, can be alot trickier than people may think. Because you want to make sure that while you are speaking loud enough for a whole theatre audience to hear you, you are delivering each and every line as it should be. And unfortunately, all of them, failed in doing so. I have to say, the character of 'Joseph' was the best. He actually wasn't as bad as the rest. And the rest of the cast actually got better in the second half. Matthew on the other hard.. not so much. I understand Perry's character is a drunk but even when he was sober, I couldn't tell her was sober. Well just goes to show what an excellent actor he was in Friends :)

Each and every joke had so much potential, but none of them had any sense of comedic timing, they spoke as if everything was one gigantic sentence and had never heard of a 'coma' in their lives.. 

Perry's first and last monologues were however, very well delivered. Everything in between that (on behalf of everyone) was sloppy and cringy. Stevie's acting was up and down, it did get a little better..And her loudness and fast talking went with her 'anxious' character but could have been alot better still.. and Stephanie was also better in the second half.


This play just needed one thing -a goddamn DIRECTOR! I am fully aware that on screen acting is vastly different to on stage acting, however alot of the jokes were very sitcom-y and it makes me wonder, how did Matthew Perry not delivery?? Or director the rest of the cast on how to delivery the jokes?

Another Good thing that Matthew did however, was that he was very careful not to sound like Chandler Bing, and I can imagine it was hard for him to do as a lot of the jokes were so sarcastic. So kudos to him on that.


Thinking back, I personally enjoyed the play and I thought it had ALOT of potential. It wasn't that deep but I think he was aiming for a more realistic approach to every day life. He did say in an interview that alot of these things have happened to him in the past.. So perhaps it was deep to him and he wanted to share it with the world...Too bad about the casting...


And here's the most heatrbeaking part.... At the end of the show, some people gave it a standing ovation... and I didn't have the heart to lie to him so I just stayed seated down :( Although, had I gone with my sister we would have probably stood up.. because you know.. Chandler!

Tastemaker

After treating myself to a ticket to this play I still haven't decided if it was a good call or not. I thought the set was really well done and helped show the passing of time quite well. I thought most of the actors were quite likeable and their characters somewhat relatable. For me the key flaws were that it was hard to understand how they all fell into the circumstances of becoming friends and actually liking each other. Everyone's story line was a little thin, and some of the jokes were much more tv-centric. I am glad I was able to see Matthew Perry on stage, and super quick costume changes were quite impressive. But the thing I enjoyed most was probably how they chose to use the space on the stage and the random music between scenes. 

Staff Writer

Despite the predictable storyline and 2D characters I did, nonetheless, enjoy the End of Longing purely as an easy-going watch. I almost felt as if I was watching a TV sitcom, which makes it difficult for me to judge against a West End backdrop. It had a few laugh out loud moments, and Friends fans will appreciate Perry’s occasional slips into Chandler territory. 


Hmmm. I had believed the hype about Matthew Perry's writing debut and his acting on stage.  It was a pretty thin story line with under developed characters. I wasn't sure if we missed some of the nuances from the actors because we were up high in the Upper Circle...  MP shouted most of his lines in. a. weird. stilted. almost. wooden. fashion.  The first half was best - the second was too drawn out and with some cringy monologues and (although a true Glaswegian) I think some over reliance the F word throughout Act 2. The play  did raise a few chortles from us and I did queue to try and see MP at the stage door - I stayed there about 20 minutes and he hadn't  shown by then so I didn't get to see how he responded to his fans/the public. I think the play  was a bit like trash TV on stage - serves a purpose after a busy day/week but not thought provoking and just okay.

Staff Writer

A great set was wasted on a very mediocre play. With clichéd storylines and stilted dialogue, the few moments that showed a hint of life were when you felt ‘oh yeah, Chandler, he was much funnier than this guy’. Gordon Cole is spot on; Perry un-ironically delivered his lines in the same bellowing monotone and fluffed his lines more than once. Which is especially annoying considering he wrote the thing. Some nostalgia for people who loved friends, but this pale, sweary imitation was overwhelmingly disappointing.


Matthew Perry was very clear on the Graham Norton Show that this play is targeted to the Friends generation.  I.e. 35-45 year old age group.  I might add, it applies even more to singles in the same age group.  This was fairly obvious during the play in that the older generation tut-tutted and argued during the first half about whether to stay or not (they stayed), while the rest of us really enjoyed it, laughing along at all the right times.  Personally for me, there were a lot of Chandler-esque moments, laughs and tears.  It was involving, emotional and very confessional while being infused with lots of profanity.  I enjoyed it and thought it was worth the mid-priced seats I paid.  Looking at other reviews I never pay £120 for anything… I don’t care who it is.


I don't know why this is getting some bad press. I saw the play this evening with a male friend and I have to say we both really enjoyed it! There are are just four characters in this play and to create such humour, wit and fast paced scene changes whilst keeping an audience hooked and laughing out loud is not easy with 4 of you owning the show. The acting was great from all four. The audience was belly laughing out loud at the well placed humour and you could here a pin drop during the brilliantly acted and emotionally charged scenes around alcoholism and addiction. I also loved the clever staging with quick set changeovers and clever use of back-lit Street scenes etc giving you a real feeling and sense of location for each scene. If you want a good night out, a laugh and to find yourself genuinely emotionally invested in the four characters and how life works out for them while your enjoying some great acting then it's a must see.

Tastemaker

I had very low expectations for this play, but as it contained Chandler, I had to go and see it! I was pleasantly surprised, the play is written by Perry and funny in parts, there is a poignant story line and I think it is braced of Perry's life. There are 4 cast members and all are very good, the story line is a bit cheesy, but who doesn't love cheese. The first half was better than the seine half. If you are a Perry fan, go and watch it.


It was a pleasure to see Matthew Perry at the London stage. The play was very good, it makes you laugh but also approaches several sensitive subjects at the same time. I would watch it again. 



I really enjoyed it, it's really funny and has a powerful message. I see two plays a week and this was a highlight. Definitely worth seeing.


Stunning...that this actually runs in a theatre.
I've never seen a "play" (and I'm using this term loosely) so vacuous, so undemanding of any kind of intellectual processing.
I'm glad I went to see it - I feel in a way I witnessed singularity: it's rare to see something so spectacularly bad -  something with neither depth, nor wit, nor candour, nor class. It's just perfect in it's poorness.


t's all very forced from the start. 4 pin-spotted monologues addressing the audience of who they are ..... And go!

The story is thin, not allowing the characters to develop too far from their initial introductions.

It has moments of humour, which soon fade, mainly due to the dialogue delivered at full throttle. Very little light and shade. These characters are all somewhat broken and vulnerable in many ways, but the delivery is far to over the top and any heightened emotion comes out of nowhere, without a journey to get to the point to scream or pour beers on his head.

Perry meanders his way through it, dropped lines, pantomime falling off a table and any attempt at sincerity is over played, making it very unbelievable.

The supporting players do well - Stephanie the whore tries hard especially when Perry doesn't give her much.

The other two have their own journey - ultimately it's like watching the Jock and the Cheerleader battle out a teenage pregnancy (they are late 30's)

All in all, I liked the set and most lighting states throughout. Costuming for a $2500 per hour whore could step up, and someone please scuff up the white soles of the new shoes - see what you notice when you disengage.

Ultimately, I wound up longing for the end.


Wow, I'm not going to lie, I didn't go into this play with high expectations. I believed that Matthew Perry is incredibly talented but in the past he's been quite unlucky in the projects he's undertaken. I stand corrected! This is a well written and funny way piece that draws you in to appreciate its dark undertones. Credit to the rest of the cast also! No weak links there at all, excellent performances all round! 

Tastemaker

I’m embarrassed to admit that I went to this play with quite low expectations - I tend to find that famous film/tv actors don’t tend to live up to the hype when they appear on stage.  However, I was happy to be proved wrong and thoroughly enjoyed this play.  It’s funny and well written and Matthew Perry is clearly one talented guy.  All four main actors are very good and play their roles perfectly.  It is a little bit cheesy at the end, but everyone needs a little cheese in their lives sometimes.  The two male characters are essentially Chandler and Joey, but why veer away from a winning formula.  Light-hearted fun and recommended so go see it! 


Very average play. Actors did as much as the could (incl Matthew) but the script was simply mediocre. Characters had a lot of opportunity to expand and get complex and diverse. Instead, their development is very flat and little. End of the play was overwrought and I was left with the feel that they just wanted to finish as soon as possible.


My conclusion is that Matthew Perry is way better actor than a scriptwriter. With a better scriptwriter the play would be at way higher level.


Very disappointing. If only I could go back in time and not attend this show, I would. It looked like Matthew Perry was bored of his character and the predicable storyline was a painful jaunt through 'been here before and wish I wasn't here again land'.The two stars I give represent 1 for the theatre and 1 for the couple of funny moments that lifted me out of the gloom. Would not recommend to anyone. 


Very honest portrayal of very real characters dealing with real issues suffered by a lot of city dwellers - neurosis, alcoholism, what is deemed as 'success' and how others view you. As well as being funny, it was uplifting and emotional and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Staff Writer

I'm not quite sure where to begin, I liked it and I didn't....the story was too simple and very predicable, a play should have a little more to it and should leave the audience wondering rather than knowing what will happen next. Christina Cole was brilliant as Stevie, a stand out from the rest, although I was not a fan of her actual character and found her quite annoying. The other members were good but not stand out. Except for Matthew Perry, unfortunately (unfortunately because I love him!) was the weakest link. He messed up his lines a few times and at other times it just felt to scripted, it would have been best if he improvised a little to keep the flow rather then try hard to remember every single line word for word. There were a few Chandler moments, which I loved but am sure was not intended. The play ended just as I thought it would and I found myself leaving feeling a little disappointed.  The production on the other hand was great, loved the staging. 



Staff Writer

What a disappointment! And I didn't even have high expectations. The premise was lacking, the characters were stereotypes and overall, it was highly sexist. It's a shame because some of the jokes were worth a 'huh!' laugh (particularly the jokes that echoed those from 'Friends') and the actual pace of the writing was pretty swift but it was just so formulaic that you could predict the plot points from the get go.


Perry himself seemed to struggle with the script giving a stilted performance, reminiscent of his Chandler Bing days but with more fluffed lines and less emotion. I wouldn't have minded so much (it was a preview showing after all) but he wrote the thing and he seemed to have struggled the most!

I was really hoping I would enjoy this but the only positives I could state are that the first half went by quite quickly and the set was quite lovely.


Overall I enjoyed it. There were a few proper laugh out loud moments, but the second half seemed to drag on, and the ending was pretty predictable. Actually not unlike an old familiar episode of "Friends"...so I'm sure Matthew Perry fans will love it.


Saw it in the first week and although Perry took a while to warm to his character, the comedy was original and funny and the storyline with incredibly impacting and thought provoking.

All 4 actors were extremely talented and worked well together, with some great monologues and well-delivered comedic lines. A great night!


Amazing! I genuinely felt the actors' emotions in this play. For the first time in years I found a play that made me both laugh out loud and fight back tears. Not only was it incredibly moving, but it still has me thinking about the story days later. Truly touching, and Matthew Perry makes a phenomenal performance.


WHY I ENJOYED THE PLAY

I can appreciate when a person decides to share a part of themselves that is so deeply personal and private, I think that is why I enjoyed this play. It was honest. It didn't shy away from confronting the sometimes ugly side of our humanity. Time is the one thing we can never get back. And the play doesn't fussy foot about the issue. There is no glamour or classiness about making terrible choices in life. And as in real life, the lives of the characters are rough, disjointed, illogical, full of conflicting thoughts that we only say to ourselves when we are in private, and it is most definitely, far from perfection. It is constantly in your face that these people are lost, trying to be found.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT

If all the stars aligned, and you are lucky enough to meet that one person, who can make you laugh, make you feel good about being you, and who adores absolutely every part of you, how long would you wait, how long would you let life's imperfect circumstances stand in your way, until you finally make the life-changing decision, to give them your heart? That is a question posed (amongst many others) in this new play, The End of Longing, written by Matthew Perry.

A series of events take place in the lives of four characters that ultimately lead them to deal with the matters of the heart and life being either fulfilled or wasted. Time is a major theme of the play. It is constantly there, putting pressure on the characters to question the life decisions that they've made. But the play also has an interesting twist of charm with lots of hilariously funny moments that only Matthew Perry can deliver and intersperse very well in between the dramatic moments of the play, with his unique, comedic style and spot-on timing. Though the story itself is not autobiographical, it is obviously material that he is personally connected to which you can appreciate when his character finally makes a pivotal life decision. At the end of the evening, I was left with a poignant telling of four peoples' lives drawn from real, raw emotions of the writer's experience. A very touching, and a very real look at life, when, in the middle of all the hustle and the bustle, you finally take the time to just simply stop, look around you, and smell the "yellow" flowers.


I saw this last night. I paid about £40 for upper circle tickets. It was OK to begin with but by the end I was quite bored. Parts of it are so clichéd. I love Matthew Perry and his performance was good but the character Stevie is pretty annoying to watch. The ending is really dragged out and not always enough to maintain your attention. I wouldn't recommend for the price.


Disappointing. I was longing for sophisticated 40 something play with a hint of satire, comedy and drama and all I got was 'cast of Friends' but with swearing and alcohol.


I think the play was ok, couldn't actually see any of it as the seats in the Upper Circle are awful. People in front weren't particularly tall but all the action was hidden behind their heads. Spoilt the whole thing for me.


Funny scenes with undertones of the "Friends" dynamic, but with an adult twist and vodka rather than a frothy coffee from Central Perk. Very entertaining.


I really wanted to love The End of Longing, Matt Perry is a nice guy and I was rooting for him. The cards were pretty much stacked in his favour on the second night at the Playhouse, the curtain rose to a roar from exited Chandler fans. It wasn’t a sign of the quality to come.

The script, penned by Perry over the course of 10 days (with a year for “revisions”), was virtually unusable. Clichés abound. The dialogue was supremely straightforward, the plot so wholly unencumbered with nuance it completely fails to catch even the most irregular of theatre goers by the scruff of the neck.

Most people shelling out £30 - £135 for a two hour performance want to come away feeling affected. In most cases they want to feel something deeper than a good session with a Friends box set, unfortunately I didn’t.

There was a slight reprieve from an otherwise dire evening. On the whole all four members of the cast conducted themselves pretty well. Bits were genuinely funny, but one can’t help feeling that was down to Perry and Co’s skill as actors, rather than the god awful lines they were forced to spit out.