New York | 1h 45m | Already closed

The End of Longing

From 31 critic and 118 member reviews
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. More…

An alcoholic, an escort, a self-diagnosed neurotic, and a well-intentioned dimwit walk into a bar...Meet Jack, Stephanie, Joseph, and Stevie: four lost souls entering their forties and searching for meaning. Broken and deeply flawed, they find their lives irreversibly entwined no matter how hard they try to break free of one another. Also starring Jennifer Morrison ('Once Upon a Time,' 'House').

1h 45m | Already closed | Lucille Lortel Theatre (West Village)

The Huffington Post

"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." Full Review

The Clyde Fitch Report

"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." Full Review

Off Off Online

“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.” Full Review

Bob's Theater Blog

"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." Full Review

Front Row Center

"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." Full Review

Entertainment Weekly

"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." Full Review

New York Theater

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The Wrap

"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." Full Review

Theatre's Leiter Side

“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.” Full Review


“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.” Full Review

The Hollywood Reporter

"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." Full Review

New York Daily News

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

Talkin' Broadway

"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." Full Review


"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." Full Review

The New York Times

"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." Full Review


"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.” Full Review


“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.” Full Review


“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." Full Review


"The 100 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." Full Review


“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.” Full Review

Front Mezz Junkies

"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." Full Review

Theater Pizzazz

"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!" Full Review

Lighting & Sound America

“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.” Full Review

Absorbing, Clever, Entertaining, Funny, Great writing

See it if If you are in to "Friends" and sitcom type comedy.

Don't see it if If you are not in to comedy or do not like Matthew Perry.

Ambitious, Intense, Hilarious, Funny, Entertaining

See it if You want to see Matthew Perry's fictional but still very personal journey through alcoholism & how he painfully pushed thru to get sober.

Don't see it if You're going to be unkind. An extremely personal journey for Perry; the topic is not for the faint of heart.

Also How does one deal with love, loss and a longing for something they can... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Great staging

See it if you enjoy an afternoon filled with fun and emotions. Every member of the cast was excellent.

Don't see it if you always want a large cast with dancing and music.

Absorbing, Edgy, Great acting, Thought-provoking

See it if Are open minded and like topics that include alternative relationships​, sex, profanity, alcohol

Don't see it if If you do not like vulgarity sex and alcohol

Entertaining, Funny, Great acting, Quirky

See it if If you like Friends, this is a darker version, but still very enjoyable. Matthew Perry and Jennifer Morrison are excellent.

Don't see it if You don't like Friends or sit com type comedy.

Great acting, Great writing, Hilarious, Quirky, Must see

See it if Phenomenal web of human emotions and relationships and how we suffer. Great writing, and if you love Chandler Bing, you'll love this

Don't see it if You hated Chandler Bing

Entertaining, Humorous, Quirky, Interesting, Great staging

See it if you are a fan of Matthew Perry, if you enjoy a tale of dysfunctional romance or if you just enjoy an entertaining night of dramedy.

Don't see it if you dislike dysfunctional romantic dramedies, or are looking for a transformative play. This play is for entertainment purposes only.

Also Matthew Perry, a decade after Friends concluded, still has a very acti... Read more Read less

Funny, Disappointing, Slow

See it if you like shows that run on the shorter side.

Don't see it if you are expecting Chandler Bing.

Thought-provoking, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if you want to see a HUMAN play that may have flaws but can be moving.

Don't see it if you sense it may be sitcomy at times.

Clever, Thought-provoking, Profound

See it if You like shows about real life situations, blooming love stories, sadness and laughter mixed together PLUS Matthew Perry!!

Don't see it if You don't like sometimes uncomfortable sad real life situations

Enchanting, Funny, Quirky

See it if you want to see M. Perry on stage.It's an entertaining play, a bit overacted but interesting given his personal experience with addiction

Don't see it if you don't like Friends/Chandler Bing's character. It's hard not to make comparisons.

Funny, Intelligent, Refreshing, Entertaining, Relevant

See it if A happier "Sexual Perversity in Chicago." Fun. Nice performances.

Don't see it if Isn't as deep as it wants to be.

Entertaining, Great acting, Intelligent, Absorbing, Quirky

See it if like Matthew Perry; the cast is very good. The play is a humorous look at relationships and addiction. It moves quickly.

Don't see it if don't want to see another show about alcoholism, although it's a unique take.

Clever, Funny, Cliched, Unoriginal, Entertaining

See it if are up for a sitcom-ish story about serious issues

Don't see it if you're looking for anything extremely witty or charming. The jokes are a little belabored and the story simple

Indulgent, Raunchy, Stiff acting, Uncomfortable, All over the place

See it if If you like Matthew Perry's portrayal of Oscar Madison, racheted up to a pathetic bully. You like stories about disfunctional and desperate

Don't see it if people. If you are looking for Chandler Bing. Matthew Perry need more rehearsal and more stage experience.

Also I liked the show's portrayal of imperfect people. I felt that Matthew ... Read more Read less

Absorbing, Funny, Relevant, Truthful, soul-bearing

See it if you want to see a semi-autobiographical play about an alcoholic & how it affects his life and his friends, based on Mathew Perry's situation

Don't see it if you don't like plays with heavy cursing and about the destructive nature of alcoholics and the affect it has on their lives and friend's.

Funny, Great acting, Cliched, Relevant

See it if you are a Matthew Perry fan, and enjoy straight forward plots about dysfunctional childhoods and addictions.

Don't see it if you disapprove of public displays of poor behavior, and alcoholics. You do not like raunchy situations and foul language.

Also Do not expect too much from Matthew Perry's first attempt at play wrig... Read more Read less

Funny, Ambitious, Thought-provoking

See it if You are a fan of Mathew Perry & are curious about his writing skills.

Don't see it if You have a sensitivity to subjects dealing with addiction.

Great staging, Great acting, Quirky, Cliched, Entertaining

See it if You want to see Mathew Perry. A play about addiction, friendships and relationships, one plausible, one highly unlikely.

Don't see it if You expect to see Chandler Bing. Perry is the weakest of the actors.

Delightful, Entertaining, Cliched, Quirky, Confusing

See it if In a way it's like "Friends 20 years later" meets real life drinking story. Mostly good acting yet somewhat unclear extreme characters

Don't see it if looking for a serious, classic play or a musical. It's surprisingly entertaining even if not perfectly done

Entertaining, Fluffy, Indulgent, Relevant, Thought-provoking

See it if you're probably going as a fan of Matthew or Jennifer, which is fine

Don't see it if you're very critical (I'm just noting that some of them really hated it)

Entertaining, Funny, Ambitious

See it if a honest portrayal of addiction and how it affects the human spirit.

Don't see it if your bothered by alcoholism and sexual addiction.

Great acting, Indulgent, Dated, Disappointing, Cliched

See it if you wonder what Mr. Perry's been up to.

Don't see it if you saw Leaving Las Vegas.

Cliched, Disappointing, Thought-provoking, Quirky

See it if Great for TV aficionados, All four cast members do the job. Interesting look at alcohol and commitment problems.

Don't see it if You cannot relate to people who are narrowly focused

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.

Cast & Creatives (11)