I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

So, another year another thousand student companies bringing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change to the Fringe. You’ll have to excuse this jaded cynic, but, walking into this show, I was expecting to dislike it. After all, how many times have I seen this show? Hell, I’ve even been in it once! But that’s the joy of the Fringe; it’s constantly surprising you and your expectations.Love, Perfect, Change is a musical sketch comedy that looks at what it means to be in love. That awkward first date, the wedding, what happens to your best friend when he becomes a dad: these are all set-ups that many have found humour in before and the material here is strong.What lifts this show is the almost staggering professionalism of the cast. Despite the fact that they are ostensibly an amateur company, from Exeter University, and, even more incredibly, that this is their first Fringe production, this is a company who have understood not only the piece, but what it takes to have a Fringe success.The stage is bare except for a projector screen at the back and six swivelling desk chairs. The chairs are a fabulous idea, allowing for some simple yet entertaining choreography as the cast roll around the stage crashing into each other. First-time director Harri Bailey has admirably avoided unnecessary flash and instead focussed on her actors turning out performances that, whilst comedic, come from a genuine place.The two stand-out performances are Glynn Jones and Jenny Scourfield. Not only are their voices fantastic but they are also able to leap into different characters at a moment’s notice. Jones’ Southern convict, trembling furiously as he screams at the singles in the audience to get together is brilliant, as is his Danny Zucco-style guy breaking down at a chick flick. Scourfield’s turn as a mother whose son won’t commit is one of the highlights of the show, not to mention her song as a drunk bridesmaid bemoaning her friends’ taste in dresses. These two actors could comfortably rival some I’ve seen in the West End.That’s not to say that the other cast members don’t have their shining moments. Amy Kinsella’s dating video, projected on to the back wall of the stage, is a truly incredible piece of acting. Not only is she acting for the stage, but the close-up on her face means she’s film-acting as well. She handles the challenge admirably, never allowing the monologue to get away from her. Matt Stockton and Alice Coulson’s duet as OAPs falling in a love at a funeral home is a perfectly timed performance that plays the jokes off genuinely moving characterisations. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house when Charlie O’Reardon professed to still be in love with his wife of 30 years despite everything they’d been through.There are only two quibbles to this. Although it’s fine to not mic’ these actors (they’re projection is excellent) it’s a shame that the violin isn’t. It rarely came through the voices and piano, although when it did it sounded lovely. Also, although the female characters always find comedy in the realism of their performances, O’Reardon and Stockton’s ‘Guys’ are over-the-top; swaggering boys aping the gestures of clichéd masculinity. This calmed down noticeably as the show went on, however.There is certainly a lot of love that has gone into this and it’s very evident that the cast are having a tremendous time. The comedy is fresh, the acting almost pitch-perfect, and the professionalism astounding. Whatever Exeter University Footlights bring next year, it has a hard act to follow.

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The Blurb

True-to-life musical celebrates and explores human relationships, from dating and waiting to lovers and marriage. Fast-paced comedy relating to all - married or single! Incredible harmonies form fabulously diverse, unforgettable songs.

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