Sunday, May 28, 2017

The End of Longing


The final play in MCC’s season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre marks the debut of Matthew Perry (TV’s Friends) both as playwright and as New York stage actor. I wish I could say that his dual debut were more auspicious. MCC’s promotional material describes this “bittersweet comedy” as follows: “An alcoholic, an escort, a self-diagnosed neurotic and a well-intentioned dimwit walk into a bar... “ That would be the forlorn Perry, the luscious Jennifer Morrison (ABC's Once Upon a Time), the hilarious Sue Jean Kim (Aubergine) and the laid-back Quincy Dunn-Baker (The Wayside Motor Inn). In a rapid succession of short scenes, we learn what happens when they pair off into two unlikely couples. I could not get past the implausibility of a gorgeous, smart woman settling for a downbeat older lush. The pairing of an tightly-wound texting addict with an easygoing construction worker was only slightly more plausible. The play’s prevailing levity turns darker near the end, but then reverts to a predictable happy ending. Kim and Dunn-Baker do wonders to flesh out their basically one-note characters. Morrison does reasonably well with the thankless task of making her character seem believable. Perry is a notch below the others. While a failure on many levels, the play does have some good one-liners. Derek McLane’s revolving set cleverly lines the walls and even the ceiling with squares of wine and liquor bottles. Sarah Laux’s costumes are apt. Lindsay Posner's direction is brisk, perhaps to prevent us from having too much time to think about the play’s flaws. Matthew Perry is apparently still a big draw; after the play the street was crowded with people outside the stage door. Running time: one hour 45 minutes; no intermission.

No comments: