Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Q Theatre, Queanbeyan
April 24 to May 5, 2013
Directed by Stephen Pike
Don’t get me wrong – ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ – is very funny and nicely performed and directed, but I wish I had seen it closer to when it was first staged in 1996. Back then it would have been delightfully original and I’m not surprised it was a smash-hit off-Broadway, running for over 5,000 performances.
In this, and similar shows, you shake your head ruefully as you recognize yourself in the funny and awkward relationships played out in short, revue-like scenes. The only problem is we’ve seen a lot of these shows in recent years and the formula is getting a bit hackneyed.
The director has chosen a group of six excellent actor/singers. Very impressive were Christine Forbes’ country-style song, ‘Always a Bridesmaid’ and Nick Valois with ‘The Baby Song’. Also delightful were Krystle Innes – who seems to be able to play any age at the drop of a hat – with ‘I Will Be Loved Tonight’ and Greg Sollis’s reactions during a nightmare visit to old friends who are focussed on their baby to the exclusion of everything else. Jenna Roberts was especially notable in her powerful scene, ‘The Very First Dating Video Of Rose Ritz’, as was Dave Evans with ‘Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?
Musical director and pianist for the show, Lucy Bermingham, with Vanessa Driver on violin and Jason Henderson on bass play the score by Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro well, but it’s not the kind of music you’ll be humming on the way home. The set by Brian Sudding with its bright colours and heart motifs looks good and works well with its various playing spaces and levels.
The costumes by Christine Pawlicki were well chosen, especially Dave Evans’ delightfully awful golf outfit and Christine must have had a great time designing the hideous bridesmaid’s dresses gamely worn by Christine Forbes.
Stephen Pike’s direction of his cast is excellent. The in-depth characterizations, especially, make this a standout production. However, the music for the short interludes covering scene changes was rather dull and resulted in a drop in the show’s energy wherever they occurred. With the set design and lighting causing the focus to be on the musicians during these interludes, the energy drop may not have occurred if Lucy Bermingham had been directed to make at least eye contact with the audience, while playing.
While I feel like I’ve seen this kind of show enough now, I still had a good time, laughing out loud at various moments and admiring the skill of the performers, their fine singing and Stephen Pike’s clever direction.
Originally broadcast on Artsound FM 92.7 ‘Dress Circle’ program on Sunday 28 April 2013