Preview: The End of Longing

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One of Hollywood’s more cerebral and enigmatic stars of Film and TV, Matthew Perry’s move into playwriting is perhaps unsurprising. The star of mega-hit TV show Friends, his West End debut – both as writer and star – was hugely anticipated. With the help of acclaimed director Lindsay Posner (Speed-the-Plow, Other Desert Cities), The End of Longing has been brought to life at the Playhouse Theatre. Described as “Wired, raw and very funny” by Whatsonstage, the show has attracted mixed reviews.

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Our Head of Theatre David Thomas caught the play on opening night and had this to say:

“The most difficult thing in this world of theatre (or TV, Film and Fiction) is combining comedy with tragedy, but The End Of Longing does just that. Hilarious and harrowing in turn, this tale of two couples lets audiences under the skin of its characters, but never to the extent of undermining the sheer entertainment of the piece as a whole. 

After the show I congratulated Matthew Perry, star and playwright, on achieving this most challenging of balancing acts, and of being brave enough to bare so much of his own personal story on stage.  I would have had my picture taken with him as well, but my nineteen-year-old daughter Chloe Leigh pipped me to the post. It isn’t so much that she is a fan of Friends, more that the re-runs are her default TV programme – and it has to be a VERY compelling alternative for her to even think of switching to another channel.

You don’t have to be a fan (or addict) of Friends to enjoy The End Of Longing.  You don’t even have to like Matthew Perry (much of the drama is about him not liking himself) and the other cast members are top drawer (Christina Cole’s Stevie, Jennifer Mudge’s Stephanie, Lloyd Owen’s Joseph).  But with a lot of the critics presenting a negative take on the play, I do think audiences will be better off deciding for themselves.”

Off to see the show for yourself? Tell us what you thought in the comments section below!