The End of Longing at the Playhouse Theatre
Matthew Perry’s new show is a brilliantly funny story of the various problems we create for ourselves.
The End of Longing is the tale of four lost souls trying to be happy. Each of them have their own issues, but when they come together in a Los Angeles bar, they begin to sort themselves out. It’s a dark comedy, deathly serious and almost tragic in some places, but fantastically witty throughout.
Matthew Perry, best known for playing Chandler Bing in Friends, both wrote and stars in this production. His writing is sharp, tremendously funny and really, very honest. The only real regret is that a few lines become inaudible underneath the raucous laughter of the audience as some of the humour falls mid-sentence.
Perry’s performance as Jack, the alcoholic, is raw and aggressive. It is a far cry from the days of Chandler Bing, but it’s certainly no less brilliant. Perry’s portrayal of the addict digs deeper to a far more truthful and powerful representation than most pop culture allows for, giving the audience a glimpse into the mind of an addict and why they can’t just stop.
Joining Perry onstage is Christina Cole (as the neurotic Stevie), Jennifer Mudge (as the prostitute Stephanie) and Lloyd Owen (as the stupid Joseph). Each and every one of them delivers, bringing vast levels of emotion where needed, as well as nailing every joke, of which there are many. Some of the costume changes seem mind-blowingly quick too.
Anna Fleischle’s set is marvellous. Mostly simple but mechanically impressive as different scenes role in and out, with videos of Los Angeles showing through windows in the background. The city clips, combined with theme music playing between scenes, give it a feeling of a television sitcom in a somehow reassuring way.
The Playhouse Theatre has recently hosted some of the very best short run shows that London has to offer and The End of Longing is no exception. Matthew Perry has written a wonderful play with an important message that life needn’t be as complicated as we make it.
The End of Longing is on at the Playhouse Theatre from 2nd February until 14th May 2016. Book your tickets here.