Closed 1h 45m
The End of Longing
West Village
61

The End of Longing NYC Reviews and Tickets

61%
(118 Reviews)
Positive
36%
Mixed
42%
Negative
22%
Members say
Disappointing, Cliched, Funny, Indulgent, Banal

About the Show

MCC Theater presents a bittersweet comedy about four dysfunctional not-so-young adults. Written by and starring Matthew Perry of 'Friends' fame.

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Member Reviews (118)

69
Funny, Disappointing, Fluffy, Romantic, Slow

See it if you want to see two recognizable people, Perry and the women from House.

Don't see it if you want a consistent show that keeps you absorbed.

70
Cliched, Fluffy, Slow, Entertaining

See it if had VERY low expectations, so enjoyed it more. Perry's personal therapy session. The other actors were solid!

Don't see it if You want a really well done play. Feels sitcom-y. Jokes are set up. Wants to be deep, but isn't.

Critic Reviews (31)

June 5th, 2017

"If Jack is convincingly darker than your typical sitcom denizen, Mr. Perry doesn’t have the verbal and dramaturgical skills as an author to take the play—his first—where the character is leading...With few exceptions, the play remains trite even as it approaches seriousness...Under the direction of Lindsay Posner, 'The End of Longing' seems like staged television...Perry has written a synthetic play that mostly points out just how much better 'Friends' was written."
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June 5th, 2017

"The play spends 100 minutes feeding at rock bottom, alternating between coarse quasi-humor, strained melodrama and maudlin romance. Many of the lines seem to think they are jokes, but forget to include the joke part...Writing this play may have been a therapeutic exercise for Perry, who has battled alcohol and drug addiction; you can sense him sweating out the toxins. That’s commendable but personal. The public result is a sweaty, toxic play that only makes you long for an ending."
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June 5th, 2017

"Squashes its attempt at tackling dark themes with a glib approach that ill-serves both the subject matter and the performers...The playwright’s inexperience becomes evident from the paper-thin characterizations and lack of credible plotting...Perry at least demonstrates that his extensive TV comedy experience has rubbed off. The evening features many amusing one-liners...Posner keeps the proceedings effectively fast-paced...But he’s unable to infuse the evening with emotional authenticity."
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June 5th, 2017

"There are a few chuckles here, and some comfortingly familiar sarcasm...But for the most part 'Longing' consists of four characters announcing feelings that these actors are likely skilled enough to register without many words...Where Perry’s script and performance does graze the truth is in two monologues that his character delivers about the grip and desperation of addiction...I found myself wondering if 'Longing' might have better succeeded as a one-man show."
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June 5th, 2017

"Lindsay Posner’s direction doesn’t give the actors any way to rise above their stereotypes...Only Kim, with her natural comedic gifts, manages to get an honest laugh from the corny repartee...There’s no question that Perry put his heart into this play, this role, this moment of truth — and the redemptive purging it promises. But the whole enterprise is so self-serving, it really doesn’t need an audience to do its job."
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June 5th, 2017

"Perry’s reach exceeds his grasp—and then some—in 'The End of Longing,' a contrived comedy-drama...Even when the play seeks to go to deeper places about prostitution and alcoholism and, quite literally, matters of life and death, the script is mired in superficiality and implausibility...Even though the characters are sketchy stick figures, the cast, directed by Lindsay Posner, offers some relief...Perry needs to up his one-note performance—and be quick about it."
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June 5th, 2017

"Embarrassingly terrible. So bad, in fact, that I find it hard to believe that any random person who attends this contrived, mawkish, painfully unfunny and utterly pointless star vehicle can’t write something better...It’s disconcerting that MCC Theater agreed to produce the play, which proves that even a much-respected not-for-profit will put on a play by a once-popular TV actor, regardless of its quality."
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June 5th, 2017

"Mildly entertaining but mostly cringe-inducing...It's basically every rom-com you've ever seen, presented in 100 minutes of predictable plot development and lowest-common-denominator jokes. At least director Posner gives this apparition from the '90s an attractive production...The performances are also decent...Jack...delivers a tearful monologue to an AA meeting. The moment is brave and slightly uncomfortable, but it still doesn't salvage 'The End of Longing' from being a giant cliché."
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June 9th, 2017

“Midway through the proceedings switch from sex comedy to addiction drama…At this point it becomes apparent that Perry has written a role that he seems incapable of convincingly acting…Perry begins the play as a parade of gag lines that place his characters into well-known types, so when he calls on matters to get serious, there's no dramatic foundation…I can't imagine the play being accepted by a company of this stature without a celebrity's name attached to it.”
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June 6th, 2017

“Perry succumbs to the superficialities and easy gag-slinging of the sitcom format...The relationships are so thinly conceived as to beggar belief; the one fundamental requirement of the genre—that the audience care about the couples getting together—is left glaringly unfulfilled…Posner's direction is slick, but there is little he can do with a script that substitutes gag lines for character insights...The play that Perry seems to be going for needs to be much funnier—and much sadder.”
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June 5th, 2017

"An eye-rolling production...Perry's writing reflects the kind of bad sitcom sensibility where clichés predominate and characters remain, at best, two-dimensional...It's a well-intentioned effort as pop-culture psychology goes, but it's embarrassing as a serious piece of theatre...One has to wonder whether Perry's decision to play an alcoholic is a brave statement as part of his recovery or self-indulgence on the part of a celebrity."
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June 6th, 2017

"Mawkish, rudimentary and with the plausibility only found in Hollywood scenarios…Perry’s characters are equally as trite, but are ably brought to life by the uniformly committed cast…Posner’s snappy staging, the sensitive performances, and the technically accomplished presentation do make this poor play watchable. ‘The End ’ ends up really just having the curiosity value of experiencing a celebrity performer acquitting himself well in a deficient vehicle of his own design.”
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June 5th, 2017

"After listening to layer upon layer of sarcasm, constant swearing, and the obvious writing style of a TV sitcom, replete with some comical one-liners, we must wonder why this production, that already had a run on London’s West End last year, has ventured abroad to land at the Lucille Lortel Theatre! The cliché of the story surely doesn’t have a unique punch line...The play wears thin as it progresses...It felt so stilted and orchestrated that I longed for the ending!"
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June 5th, 2017

"The 100 minutes...do exhibit author Perry's flair for writing bits of barbed and brittle repartee. What passes for a plot in which four egregiously underdeveloped characters are put in a progression of queasily predictable situations is otherwise lamentable...Perry, for all his earnestness in the script or in his performance, doesn't give us any clues as to what his four characters see in each other—either romantically or as conduits to a better life."
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June 7th, 2017

"A well-intentioned homage to hope...The play, not surprisingly, has a sitcom flavor to it. The scenes are short and melodramatic...The play begins with a premise that we do not believe. The story plugs along, however...Perry writes some very funny lines...The good news is that Perry has created characters that are not the cookie-cutter variety...Only in the final scenes does his writing border on sophomoric...It is not great theatre, but it does stick with you."
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June 5th, 2017

"Directed shabbily by Lindsay Posner...The redeeming part of this mess of a play, is in the secondary characters. Both total stereotypes but played with such heart and commitment that we can’t help but love them...With no real believability between the two leads, and no dramatic arc that we can get behind, this feels like a huge waste of time, energy, and money. It needs a strong assist from a caring writer, a better lead actor, and a firmer grasp on reality."
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June 9th, 2017

"Perry takes little interest in the life-defining pains he assigns his characters…It is filled with jokes, but the sort of jokes you might expect of late-series ‘Friends’…Quincy Dunn-Baker, Sue Jean Kim and Jennifer Morrison all bring wit and zest to their thinly drawn roles and clunky dialogue…If you plop every seriocomedy into a spreadsheet and calculate the mean, this is what you’ll get. It is also, not coincidentally, a powerful argument for new plays to be anything but average.”
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June 25th, 2017

"A poorly written rom-com that is implausible, with one-dimensional characters spouting one-liners that for the most part are not funny...Perry has written about three seasons of sitcom episodes condensed into 100 minutes that expose ridiculous situations completely void of emotional content...It is all predictable and when trying to take a couple of dramatic turns it fails miserably...Posner keeps a smart brisk pace so as not to leave the audience pondering the glib one-liners too long."
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June 5th, 2017

"Perry’s bravery and his star appeal, along with Lindsay Posner’s swift direction and the competence of the three other cast members, help make MCC’s production of 'The End of Longing' come off as better than the script deserves...His characters are all one-note...Very little of it feels plausible. This is largely because much of the dialogue is stilted and strained, especially the attempts at humor."
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June 5th, 2017

"Chock-full of witty sitcom banter and deadly truths about alcoholism. That these polar opposites sit somewhat uneasily within the same 100-minute piece should be unsurprising...Directed with a certain flatness by Lindsay Posner...Perry proves to have some considerable dramatic chops...Unfortunately, and this is where the play truly falls short of its goal, Perry (as both writer and star) can’t really make us believe that Stephanie would want to forge a serious relationship with Jack."
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June 17th, 2017

“A woozy rom-com that isn't quite able to walk the straight line without wobbling…The friendships between Jeffrey and Jack and Stephanie and Stevie lack basic credibility. Perry provides so little about these people apart from their most obvious characteristics, it's hard to see them as little more than superficial figures whose raison d'être is to differ sharply from one another…Perry is a believable drunk but his character is too unappetizing to make his romance with Stephanie plausible.”
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June 5th, 2017

“Perry’s Off-Broadway debut isn’t very good…Jack is a slovenly, glib, often aggressive mess, and there’s a certain ‘been there, done that’ authenticity to Perry’s earnest portrayal. It’s less easy to buy that he’s also meant to be a charmer…Many feeble quips make you miss the ace ‘Friends’ writing room…The line between Perry and his alter ego appears to be thin, which makes the show, as clunky as it is, a strangely fascinating exercise in celebrity catharsis.”
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June 5th, 2017

"When playwright Perry lets Jack loose to be who he really becomes, actor Perry holds nothing back — not the anger, not the long-hidden fear, not the incipient paunch creeping over his belt. It’s a brave performance because it’s implicit that Perry, who famously battled opioid and alcohol addiction, is impersonating himself...'The End of Longing' is another way for Perry to send his sobering message forward. He’s done it rather well. Let’s raise a flute of sparkling water to him."
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June 5th, 2017

"I could not get past the implausibility of a gorgeous, smart woman settling for a downbeat older lush. The pairing of a tightly wound texting addict with an easygoing construction worker was only slightly more plausible...While a failure on many levels, the play does have some good one-liners...Lindsay Posner's direction is brisk, perhaps to prevent us from having too much time to think about the play’s flaws."
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June 5th, 2017

"Begins as a sexy, trite sitcom but halfway through turns into the kind of treacly TV drama that populated the major networks before cable came to the rescue...Abrasion does not begin to describe the Stevie character or Kim’s performance...Dunn-Baker, sporting one of those comfy lumberjack beards, gives a relatively quiet, unforced performance. He’s a welcome respite in this play, frenetically directed by Lindsay Posner."
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June 7th, 2017

"The premise of 'The End of Longing' strains credulity...There are only two things that make this show even passably noteworthy. The first is that it's written by and stars Matthew Perry...The second is that Perry has waged his own battles against booze and drugs and has become a major advocate for drug rehabilitation programs...Those experiences inform Jack's climactic speech about the challenges of staying sober. It's the most genuine thing in the play. But, alas, it's not enough to save it."
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June 6th, 2017

“About as vacuous and void of nuance as the clear, empty liquor bottles stacked into Derek McLane’s shiny reversible set...This is fiction, but it’s also pure male fantasy…Kim and Dunn-Baker have a natural chemistry and ease on stage. But the same cannot be said of Perry, whose rather robotic performance is a far cry from the on-screen roles for which he’s known. It doesn’t help that Jack and Stephanie are written as little more than stock characters."
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June 6th, 2017

“A sitcom-like rom-com that, regrettably, is neither amorous nor very funny…Many times the plot strains credulity…Perry at times seems uncomfortable with his own material, setting up jokes without waiting for the lines to sink in…There are glimpses of genuine humor and humanity along the way, particularly in the closing monologue Perry has written for himself, but they’re not enough to sustain matters…Derek McClane’s set is one of the best things here.”
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June 22nd, 2017

“Perry can still deliver a comic line with snap, and he brings a world-weariness and desperation to the part as well as a fearlessness in showing the character’s self-absorption…Yet Perry’s determination as a playwright to show the worst does carry a danger. Some viewers may be pushed to a point of losing any emotional investment in the character, even in director Posner’s stylish production. If ‘The End of Longing’ is not a great or memorable play, it is still a solid piece of work.”
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June 14th, 2017

“It might be possible to believe some of this, intermittently, if Perry’s writing had some center or substance to it, but it seems, instead, to jump arbitrarily from one notion to the next, often losing its way...The pallid efforts at sitcom are succeeded by bursts of soap-opera angst with patches of feel-good sentiment spliced in. Almost nothing seems organic to the characters, a fault redoubled by Lindsay Posner’s direction…It’s a disheartening experience."
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June 5th, 2017

"We find out who these characters really are. And I felt, I knew each of them...I was moved...A younger audience has been able to appreciate the story being told here without falling into the politics of harsh theatre criticisms, reviews and expectations of productions tied to big names...Matthew Perry will always succeed at making us laugh, yes, but I am grateful for this look into the darker side of life as well when things seem positively bleak."
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