As a big fan of the sitcom Friends, I was looking forward to watching ‘The End of Longing’ directed by and featuring Matthew Perry. Unfortunately, the play was rather unfulfilling.
Perry’s character, Jack, is basically a drunker and older Chandler. Sadly, Chandler seems to have been stripped of the most fun aspects of his personality – quick wit and awkward authenticity. What’s left is a greying man making jokes about boobs and porn, stomping around the stage and trying to sort his life out. And swearing a lot while doing it. He seemed like a secondary character who got stuck as a protagonist, a walking cliche of a man with intimacy issues.
Jack’s best friends is Joey (oh sorry, Joseph) – not the smartest cookie in the jar, but a warm and devoted friend. Joseph dates Stevie, a neurotic baby lover (think: a more extreme version of Monica). Stevie’s best friend, and Jack’s love interest, is Stephanie, a no-bullshit prostitute on the outside, and a loving friend and girlfriend on the inside.
That’s pretty much it; there’s not much character development going on beyond that. My favourite part of the play was Lloyd Owen (Joseph). Towards the end he finally exclaimed that life is not as hard as we make it seem, and we should all just be happy. I couldn’t agree more. I’m happy to have seen Matthew Perry, and I’m happy that the play is over.