Volume 93, Issue 5
Friday, June 11, 1999
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
I Love You Perfect, need not change for anyone
Photo by Elisabeth Feryn
By Luke Rundle
As curtain time neared for the debut performance of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change at The Grand Theatre, the musical's playbill was read with a certain degree of nervousness. Would this play actually shed new light on the imperfections both sexes have tried to keep from each other for centuries?
They needn't have worried. The Grand's staging of the off-Broadway musical is truly a winning effort. Charmingly funny, it maintains a steady mixture of hilarity throughout, sprinkled liberally with a few instances of heart-wrenching honesty. Written by award winning playwright Joe DiPietro, the musical takes the viewer through all aspects of life, love and relationships in the '90s, focusing on their funniest quirks and eccentricities.
Moving through the structure of a relationship, the musical begins with A Cantata For A First Date, offering the four lead players the rare opportunity to sing a full length song in their skivvies. The two female actors, Charlotte Moore and Blythe Wilson, open the action with a woe-are-we lament on the lack of suitable males in Single Man Drought. Likewise, Milo Shandel and Edward Glen gird up their loins to battle the war of the sexes in defence of male behavior in Why? 'Cause I'm A Guy.
The first act moves steadily toward one of the most feared or anticipated, depending on the person, events in a relationship marriage. As the second act picks up, the action focuses on the scary prospect of divorce, death and childbirth all horrifyingly real aspects of adulthood. One feels the desperation of Moore and Shandel as weary parents attempting to muster up the energy to have sex despite their children's whining in I'm Married And I'm Gonna Have Sex. Watching the company portray a dysfunctional family yelling and screaming their way to a party in On The Highway Of Love would make any sane individual choose to practice birth control till the end of time.
The show also manages to break out of the musical numbers occasionally, providing spoken word pieces which work well between numbers. Most of these pieces provide a chance for the players to pause for laughter, which is impossible during a song. Moore and Glen perform a gut-busting sketch of an on-the-go couple condensing an entire relationship and eventual breakup into a five-minute first date. The entire company pitches in for Glen's portrayal of a sleazy, sexual lawyer, aiding the sexually unfulfilled in their suits against their partners.
However, the feature of the musical which leaves the audience with a light feeling in their chests is not the humour, but the small doses of honesty from which the humour stems. When Shandel sings about his enduring love for his wife in Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You, then shrugs when she asks him what he's thinking, the audience laughs at the typical male reaction but the sentiments the song sparks still remain.
The Grand Theatre's production of I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change maintains a steady degree of humour and sentiment throughout its length, never varying from this winning formula. It leaves all previously nervous couples walking out of the theatre light-hearted, for maybe the opposite sex isn't as mysterious as before. Even the most love-starved in the opening night audience had to walk out exclaiming, "Don't you go changin'!"
Copyright © The Gazette 1999