Jack Treby Kate Doohan Julie Eisentrager Jenna Saini. Photo by Michelle Thomas
Right: Mufaro Maringe and Julie Eisentrager. Photo by Christopher Thomas
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change
Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Music by Jimmy Roberts
Directed by Gabriella Flowers
Presented by Savoyards
The Star Theatre, (Wynnum State High School)
Season: 17-18 March and 24 March. Bookings: email@example.com or phone (07) 3893 4321.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a musical collage of skits about love and relationships ranging from the first date, marriage, and kids, to the funeral.
The cast consisted of eight talented actors/singers - Kate Doohan, Julie Eisentrager, Nick Ferguson, Mufaro Maringe, Jenna Saini, Joshua Thia, Jack Treby and Nadia Vanek - who took on the job of more than 50 different characters, which added to the comedic effect as they quickly transitioned across the scenes.
The opening number, a hauntingly beautiful harmony of choral sounds, began with the curtain closed. Then the curtain opened to reveal all eight performers in red hooded cloaks similar to the TV series The Handmaidens’ Tale (which is not about love at all). The audience is then treated to the first song which dealt with getting ready for a date – clean shirt, shaving, waxing, hair, makeup (all for someone they don’t even know if they’ll like) which led into a couple of sketches and songs about the awkwardness of the first date.
This then led into the bedroom and first sex skits, followed by the parents expecting an engagement notice and getting a break up announcement instead (this scene was particularly funny as the parents balled out both their son and prospective daughter-in-law) to He Called Me. The first act ended with a hilarious scene titled Scared Straight where a singles dating seminar is held at a prison and a long term serial murderer gives a lecture scaring the bejeezus out of two singles getting them to accept each other despite them not being what the other wants.
The second act follows on from the end of the first act with a continuation of the wedding vows with Always a Bridesmaid. This scene makes sense of the godawful bridesmaid dress. We, the audience were then taken through the gaga mentality of new parenthood, sex and the married couple, dating after divorce and then finally dating at funerals.
The set, designed by Callum Logan, was simply done with three large picture frames and an enormous heart in the centre. A raised platform stretched from one side of the stage to the other, on which were perched the orchestra, consisting of the Musical Director, Danika Saal, a pianist, violinist and bass guitarist. Two sets of stairs centre stage joined the platform to the main stage. Props, such as tables, chairs, sofa, wedding arch and numerous smaller items (glasses, wine bottles, plates, toys) were seamlessly taken on and off mostly by the performers with assistance on occasion by the stage crew.
The cleverest prop was the slide out bed which was used for the “Satisfaction Guaranteed” scene – the two sets of stairs slid sideways and the bed came out from under the raised staging. This was perhaps the funniest scene for me – we have an amorous couple who appear on stage undressing each other, hop into bed, giggles, laughter, moaning and groaning, then silence and they both pop up from under the covers at opposite sides of the bed – and then “Wasn’t I just incredible” he asked. “No, you were terrible” she said. Next instant we another character dressed in a suit popped up into the bed. He was from a law firm and was spruiking that his firm can fix the bedroom dilemma with a contract for “satisfaction guaranteed”.
This was then borne out by another couple who squirmed out from under the covers at the bottom of the bed with their legal representative giving details of their contract and how you can sue if you don’t get what you have in writing.
The costumes designed by Kristan Ford were great, some obviously designed with quick changes in mind, even on stage. I particularly loved the bridesmaid dress as it really was the worst combination of yuck you could imagine, but I really liked the colour – purple with black lace.
The comedy for this musical is mostly in the song lyrics, which don’t pull any punches, however it was difficult to hear some of them as the keyboard was at times a bit overpowering even though the performers wore microphones. The orchestral accompaniment overall was good and there is a bit of a duel between the keyboard and the violin at the beginning of Act 2.
I enjoyed and laughed through this musical and for an opening night performance, there were not too many hiccups at all, just a few spotlights not hitting the target. The cast, directed by Gabriella Flowers, and the supporting crew produced a wonderfully entertaining and humorous show that we can all relate to. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was an Off-Broadway musical success, performing for 12 years and while there are a lot of Americanisms in the show, it is nonetheless relatable to love and relationship experiences everywhere.