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Reviews London TheatreWest End & Central Published 15 February 2016

Review: The End of Longing at Playhouse Theatre

Playhouse Theatre ⋄ 2nd February – 14th May 2016

Chandler meet Matthew, Matthew meet Chandler.

Tim Bano
The End of Longing at Playhouse Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

The End of Longing at Playhouse Theatre. Photo: Helen Maybanks.

An uptown LA bar. The set for Matthew Perry’s play, ‘The End of Longing’.

Matthew Perry: Hey.

Chandler Bing: Hey.

MP: I want to write a play.

CB: Ok…

MP: I’m not really a writer though.

CB: Can’t be that hard can it? People got paid millions to put a load of crap into my mouth.

MP: Right, and I’ve got a really good idea.

CB: Shoot.

MP: So I play this guy/

CB: You’re in it too?

MP: Sure. So I play this guy, right. He drinks.

CB: But you drink.

MP: Used to. It’ll be like enforced group therapy for me and the audience. Anyway, he’s a little bit antihero, a little bit unreconstructed, a little bit Jack the lad. Y’know, I think I’ll call him Jack. And there’ll be tonnes of exposition, but I’ll draw attention to it so no one’ll realise they’re being expositioned to.

CB: Is that it?

MP: Yeah.

CB: Hmm.

MP: No good?

CB: I dunno…maybe needs a bit of work.

MP: Shit. Maybe I shouldn’t write a play. I don’t know anything about theatre.

CB: Do you know anything about anything?

MP: Sure, acting in sitcoms.

CB: Yeah you’re pretty good at that. Better than Joey. And I should know. So make it like a sitcom. Really short scenes. And your voice and face have been in the houses of everyone under 30 pretty much constantly for the last 20 years. That familiarity will count for something. Just come up with like five more characters, I’m sure it’ll be great.

End of act one.

Act 2. The same bar, the following day.

MP: Hey.

CB: Hey.

MP: How you doing?

CB: That’s not your line.

MP: Oh right, so Matt ‘Clarkson’ Le Blanc’s got a monopoly on asking people how they are?

CB: Jeez, chill out man. I’m your Friend remember?

MP: Sorry, I’m just a bit whacked out. My play opens next week in London.

CB: London?

MP: Yeah.

CB: Not Broadway?

MP: No, London. Why?

CB: No reason.

Beat.

So you wrote it then?

MP: Yeah.

CB: You added some characters?

MP: Yep.

CB: So go on. What’s it about.

MP: Ok so I kept that alcoholic Jack-the-lad character I was telling you about.

CB: Jack.

MP: Sure, that’s the one.

MP: Then the rest’ll be like, I dunno, three other friends and they’re all looking for love and happiness or some crap like that.

CB: Only four friends?

MP: Yeah, why?

CB: I just thought…never mind.

MP: So it’ll be about me with some other less likeable characters. A dumb one, a neurotic one and the one I’d like to fuck.

CB: So Joey, Monica and Jennifer Aniston?

MP: Sure. And they all hang out at this one place, like a cafe.

CB: A cafe? Cos that hasn’t been done before.

MP: Ok, a bar then.

CB: Well that sounds completely original.

MP: You think so?

CB: No. Sarcasm. Critics are lazy, they’ll make lame jokes about how much it’s like Friends.

MP: Yeah but it’ll be bait. I’ll make it so obvious that they’ll look like assholes for even pointing it out. And hey, what’s the worst they could write?

CB: Er, like, just off the top of my head, they’ll say ‘could it BE any more derivative’ or ‘forget The End of Longing, I was longing for the end’ or…

‘So no one asked for Chandler Bing to write a play
Your script’s a joke, pure hokum, wish I’d stayed away.
The writing’s always stuck in second gear.
Feels like it lasts for days, for weeks, for months or even for years.

It’s a pile of poo
Tired humour galore
Big old pile of poo
About a drunk and a whore
Steaming heap of poo
A depressing debut…’

MP: You thought all that up way too quick.

CB: What can I say? I’m a gifted writer.

MP: And I’m not?

CB: Dunno yet.

Curtain.

The End of Longing is on until 14th May 2016. Click here for tickets.

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Tim Bano

Tim is a freelance arts writer and theatre critic. He writes regularly for Time Out, The Stage and other publications. He is co-creator of Pursued By A Bear, Exeunt Magazine's theatre podcast.

Review: The End of Longing at Playhouse Theatre Show Info


Directed by Lindsay Posner

Written by Matthew Perry

Cast includes Matthew Perry, Christina Cole, Jennifer Mudge, Lloyd Owen

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