The End of Longing (Oh hey there Matthew Perry!)

19975_show_portrait_largeWhen an invite appeared in my inbox to preview the new play The End of Longing in London, I was a little apprehensive, as I normally am of plays. I have to be in the mood for a play (especially when it’s new and unknown) – unlike musicals which I am always in the mood for!

Within seconds my pulse was set racing when I realised that it was the eagerly awaited new play, The End of Longing, written by and starring Matthew Perry. (OMG!)

During my teen years I was (and still am) a huge Friends fan – never a day went by after school or college (or even after a night out and needing to let the room stop spinning before lying down) that I wouldn’t put on an episode of my favourite sitcom. That was before Sex & the City became the follow-up fave.

To be seeing a play written by and starring the guy we all know and love as Chandler Bing was seriously exciting. I instantly knew the script was going to be witty and it’s always a pleasure and privilege to witness (live) the work of an internationally acclaimed actor.

“Could I BE any more excited?!” (Get it?!)

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Chandler, aka Matthew Perry with his “Friends”

The story is fairly simple and easy viewing (which, in my opinion is always preferable for a play), but that doesn’t take away from the attention and genuine laugh-out-loud moments from the audience.

Four people, all hitting their forties and each with a different “issue”; Jack (Matthew Perry) is a self-confessed “Professional Drunk”, who along with his “stupid” friend Joseph meets Stephanie the “whore” and Stevie, the neurotic worrier one drunken night in an LA bar. The plot continues in to one long rollercoaster, facing their dark demons along the way. There are a couple of moments (one part touches a tear-jerking nerve) which slaps them all in the face with a large dose of perspective and reality. I actually think the play gives us all a wake-up call…?

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With a slight sitcom feel to it, the fast-paced production kept us interested and entertained. Scenes were punchy with intelligently funny lines (bravo Matthew!). The staging was creative and with catchy music during scene changes (just like in a sitcom!).

At times it can feel like you are watching a 40 year old Chandler Bing as an alcoholic (which can’t be helped for how famous he became for that role) with a few nods to Matthew Perry’s known real-life dose of demons. He may be the star of the show, but an impressive thumbs-up must be accounted for putting his witty humour to paper to create a relevant, current and laugh-out-loud play. Mr Perry may have used his own life for some inspiration, and yes he certainly owns the skill of producing hilarious one-liners (like Chandler’s character did) but he has proven to the world he can be a talented comedy playwright (boom!), and also really is so much more than Chandler when in action (double boom!).

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Evidently, from the standing ovation, The End of Longing is a must-see. The cast are all great, the script is memorably funny and it’s a refreshing change and encouraging sign to the theatre of today.

I don’t tend to write about the plays and musicals I have had the privilege to see, but how could I not write about this! After my shocking January, this was my first night out in what felt like forever, and I’m so glad I accepted the invitation from the play’s promoters. Well done and thank you to all the cast and production team for a fabulous night.

The End of Longing is showing at London’s Playhouse Theatre until 14 May 2016. For more information and to book tickets visit www.endoflonging.co.uk.

If you do see it, let me know what you think!

XCamilla

Permission obtained from the play’s promoters to review here at Flamingo Monroe.

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