I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a show containing numerous sketches about love, relationships and marriage created by Joe DePietro (also wrote Memphis with David Bryan) and Jimmy Roberts. The idea is find someone you think is perfect and then spend the rest of your life trying to change them. It is different from other shows I’ve seen because there are no constant characters as it’s made up of individual sketches, which can make for a stop and start performance.
The production was played at Over the Arts, a new theatre space above the Arts Theatre, holding only 80 people. It is a very small theatre and makes for a very personal and intimate performance. The actors are very on display as you see every detail. West End theatre tickets are expensive and unaffordable for a lot of people. For this venue, they’re £15 a ticket and, even if you’re in the back row, you get a perfect view (like row G of a West End theatre). If you paid £15 for a West End ticket you’d probably be back row, in ‘the Gods’, behind a pillar!
The show is very simple when referring to sets and lighting and only requires four actors. Because of its simplicity it has been a favourite for college performances. Director, Kirk Jameson, started this production with the idea of having experienced, comedy actors performing it.
This vision was realised. Julie Atherton (Avenue Q, Sister Act, Mamma Mia) was cast as Woman 1 who performs her solo number, ‘I Will Be Loved Tonight’, a subtle but beautiful song which is very moving and something all women can relate to. Gina Beck (Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, Wicked) played Woman 2 who performs a solo number, ‘Always a Bridesmaid’, is one of my favourite songs from the show, it’s just so funny and Beck’s vocals were perfect.
Simon Lipkin (Rock of Ages, Avenue Q, I Can’t Sing) was cast as Man 1 who performs ‘Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love with You’ is one of tenderest moments of the show, so lovely and soft and subtle – beautiful. Samuel Holmes (White Christmas, Spamalot, Kiss me Kate) completes the cast as Man 2 who performs ‘Baby Song’ which is a nice little song sung by Holmes playing a new father who is caught the ‘baby talk’ bug. Man 1 explores the more masculine qualities of men when Man 2 explores the softer, possibly gay qualities and the pair make for a nice contrast.
The first sketch is ‘Cantana For A First Date’ which was superbly done with the four cast member dressing for their first dates and going through the usual gitters associated with it. The number ends with them ringing the doorbell and saying ‘hi’. It sets the tone perfectly and, in this production, the cast connect immediately.
‘Stud and a Babe’ is one of my favourite moments in the show which is between Man 2 and Woman 1. It is the first date of an awkward couple. After discussing getting his phone fixed, she tells him a ‘cute’ story about her brother having eleven toes. They break into song and decide to try to seduce each other by being a stud and a babe but fail miserably.
‘Single Man Drought’ involves all four cast member with the two ladies being on dates with boring men who talk a lot. A truly hilarious number which relies on timing and tone of voice and was achieved stunningly well by Atherton and Beck. It morphs into ‘Why? Cos I’m a Guy’ joins onto this sketch after the women decide to go to the ladies room and the men are paying the bill.
‘He Called Me’ is another personal favourite of mine. It’s sung primarily by Woman 2 who is waiting for a guy to call and believes he won’t call on the day he said he would. To her surprise, he does and there is a song and dance which is interrupted when he calls again – he’s needy!
The ‘Marriage Tango’, performed by Man 1 and Woman 2, is a hilarious moment in the show where a married couple with two kids see the opportunity to have sex. The whole scene is about them trying to get it on but constantly getting interrupted.
‘On the Highway of Love’ is where a married couple with two kids (Man 1 and Woman 2) in the back are fighting and hanging out of the car windows. The husband, Man 2, believes driving is a right of manhood, the wife, Woman 1, shares her “never ending opinions” with him and driving as a simple means of getting from a to b.
The show finishes on ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ which says find somebody to love that you think is perfect and then spend the rest of your life trying to change them. It sums up the whole show so well bringing it to a good end.
This production was an outstanding piece of theatre – we love it, it’s perfect, don’t want it to change. The actors were all outstanding and maintained an easy flow to the show with no low points. We’re hoping for a transfer because it ended up sold out and we found it funnier than a lot of ‘funny’ shows on West End at the moment. It’s unique, quirky, comical,and relatable.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change and Julie Atherton have been nominated for BroadwayWorldWestEndAwards. Vote here: http://www.broadwayworld.com/westend/vote2015region.cfm