Review: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (Chiswick Playhouse)
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change started its life as an Off-Broadway musical in 1996. Updated in 2017, it is currently playing its UK debut in its new form at the Chiswick Playhouse.
The show explores the trials and tribulations of love in many different types of romantic relationships - it is refreshing to see such an inclusive piece of musical theatre. Although only eighty minutes long, it packs every moment with humour, knockout performances and wryly observed characters – so much so, that the running time still feels like that of a more traditional musical.
The opening choreography by Steven Harris cleverly hoodwinks the audience into seriousness before letting them in on the joke. This effectively sets the tone for the show as a whole. Later, interesting choreography in The Marriage Tango allows the cast to show more of their excellent dance skills.
As an ensemble, the four perform their intricate harmony work with great skill overseen by Musical Director Stuart Pedlar. There are some moments of visible vocal tension in some of the performers but all have great voices with barely a word missed in the fast-paced lyrics thanks to their top diction and technique.
It is hard to pick stand out moments in a show that hits the mark with every scene. All the cast multi-role and successfully embody an array of contrasting characters. Dominic Hodson has a particularly beautiful voice that is matched with fine comedic acting skills. Laura Johnson and George Rae shine in their duet A Stud and a Babe with both Johnson’s expressive face and physicality putting me in mind of Miranda Sings! and Broadway star Colleen Ballinger. It is in another of Johnson’s songs Always a Bridesmaid that seamstress Natalia Alvarez’s skills are shown in such an inventive and entertaining way. The show as a whole makes good use of costume, design by Verity Johnson and slick direction by Charlotte Westenra to keep the action moving forward.
The updated book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro are consistently funny, with jokes and relatable witty lines coming thick and fast, but this is also a show with a heart. Rae and Hodson give extremely moving performances playing elderly men in I Can Live With That and Naomi Slights matches this moment during her monologue The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is an absolute treat of a show, without a weak song or scene. The cast of four use their impressive range to take us on a thoroughly enjoyable journey through the lives of numerous characters. The Chiswick Playhouse are very lucky to be staging its debut in this form and with any luck I hope the show finds itself transferring in the future.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is playing at the Chiswick Playhouse until the 30th of November. Tickets are available here -
Review by Tiffany Clark ( @tifflouclark )
Photo: Savannah Photographic