Perry's playwriting debut 'The End of Longing' opened on Thursday night at the Playhouse Theatre in London's West End.
Perhaps Matthew Perry should have opted for ‘Friends’ reunion after all, as his new play opened to a number of poor reviews this week.
‘The End of Longing’, a play he wrote and in which he starred as lead character, got its premiere in London’s West End on Thursday evening (February 11th), and while it got a standing ovation from those in attendance, critics were not so impressed.
Matthew Perry doing promotional work for 'The End of Longing'
46 year old Perry’s playwriting debut sees him star as an alcoholic photographer who falls in love with a prostitute. His commitment to putting on the play has meant that he’s the only one of the six cast members of ‘Friends’ not to join the small ‘reunion’ on NBC, which is being broadcast later this month. However, he now may wish that he had done so with some of the notices it's receiving.
The Guardian wrote one of the more barbed reviews, concluding that it was “flimsy” and that the material was not suited to a stage. “It feels more like an extended sitcom in which there is little going on behind the lines… …What works in half-hour bites on television looks decidedly thin on the stage.”
“There's so little believable connection or tenderness between these friends and lovers, and their characters have about as much depth as a puddle in a heat wave,” The Independent’s Holly Williams wrote savagely.
There were some kinder reviews, however, one of them being Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail who felt it was engrossing enough as long as it lasted, but didn’t predict great things. “[Director] Lindsay Posner's production is coolly staged, well-acted and thoroughly watchable. I enjoyed it, though fully expect to forget much of it within a week or so.”
Giving it four stars out of five, The Times thought it was “funny” and “often laugh out loud”, but said that it was most likely to appeal to devotees of ‘Friends’ and those who remember Perry’s ten-year stint as the sarcastic Chandler Bing.