The End of Longing (West End) Review
Matthew Perry – Jack
Christina Cole – Stevie
Jennifer Mudge – Stephanie
Lloyd Owen – Joseph
Venue – Playhouse Theatre, London
Date – Friday 22nd April 2016
Matthew Perry’s playwriting debut in a play was certainly something I was very pleased to be able to see. It just so happened it was still on when I went to London to complete the Marathon! So I quickly bought a ticket for the Friday evening and was lucky enough to be in the centre of the front row!
The End of Longing is about four people who are in their 30s/40s something which is the Friends Generation. It is about finding and looking for love and realising it is never too late to change. Each character brings something slightly different to the stage and fantastic performances from each of the actors taking on the roles. It has its serious moments as well its hilarious moments. It certainly does have that feel of Friends for grown ups with swearing thrown in, with good effect.
Jack is an alcoholic and needs a drink in the morning to help him function, he doesn’t admit that he has a problem though. But when it wrecks the relationships he has built especially with Stephanie but also with his best friend Joseph.
Joseph is a pretty simple man and it is often joked about how dumb he is, but I think he makes the most progress over the course of the play. He really shows that yes he may just be a bit more simple than everyone else but that just means he doesn’t worry as much.
Stephanie is a prostitute and very proud of it. She is open about how much money she makes from it and doesn’t see anything wrong with it at all. Things change though when she starts a relationship with Jack she feels things she never realised possible. Her best friend Stevie is totally opposite to her.
Stevie is unlucky in love and really wants to have a baby before it is too late. She has just started seeing a new man and obsessed over him taking four hours to reply to a text message (isn’t that such a modern problem) and he’s a little bit slow? See where that is heading yes that’s right Joseph!
The four intertwine in bar and everything escalades from that moment really. We are certainly given things to think about when it comes to love and how people act around technology in particular the obsession with mobile phones, something which really does get worse as time goes on. That is something that certainly kept everything up to date.
The second act takes some very different and more emotional hard-hitting turns and is quite difficult to watch at times in all honesty. It really did manage to strike so many different chords. I couldn’t help but wonder how much of himself Matthew Perry put into the character of Jack with his troubles with alcohol and recovering from it all. That certainly made some of his speeches and moments even more emotional. If he has put a lot of himself in the role I admire him even more than before.
Jennifer Mudge, Christina Cole and Lloyd Owen all put in fantastic performances as well. All working and bouncing off one another in such an engaging way. I enjoyed the play from start to finish. It was very good to see how each character changed a part of themselves for someone else, who said people don’t change? Well, we certainly change depending what happens to us, it is impossible not to in the end.
I really have started to become such a fan of play’s and cannot get enough of them. You get heartfelt performances and moments which feel just like real life. This play makes you think and asses your own life. At 28 I guess I have some of this type of thing to come along? Well, parts of it I certainly hope not! I really would recommend catching Perry and the gang on stage only a couple of weeks left in the West End! Oh the Playhouse Theatre is such a lovely one to visit as well.