I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

I Love you, You’re Perfect, Now Change is earnestly performed by a youthful and small cast – the reason for scraping the second star – but the uninspired script and the overall piece really struggles to succeed. The music isn’t catchy, the plot is not worth remembering when it’s good, and errs on the offensive side when it’s bad. Moments are passably funny and the cast do what they can, but that’s about it.

If you find men crying and women lying during a bad date hilarious, this is the show for you. Otherwise, I would recommend finding something else.

In a series of scenes – from first meetings, through the minefield of dating, marriage, kids and eventually flirting at funerals – we are treated to men and women mostly struggling to get along. It was difficult to grasp any overall message as the tone of the scenes shifted rapidly from dark cynicism one minute, to surprising levels of hopeless romanticism the next. The show struggles to fuse these tone shifts into a coherent whole, resulting in a bizarre and messy through-line. Unsurprisingly this fails to create any clear overarching message or point.

The cast of four do their best with the material, singing and acting well. They did a good job chopping and changing between partners and ages, from the nerdy young ones, through the frustrated young singles then through to the older generation. The music doesn’t move much beyond classic show tune.

It was an odd choice to have a young and reasonably talented cast working on a sanitised version (no Satisfaction Guarantee here) of a musical about the knots we tie ourselves into over love, sex and dating. What remains is the peculiar kind of unconvincing PG love you get in youth musicals. The best song, the Marriage Tango, where two parents try to get laid before their kids interrupt, really had the wind taken out of it; the actors seemingly struggling to say the word sex with any kind of convincing delivery.

For a piece ostensibly about love and dating we never move beyond uncomfortably rigid heteronormativity: lesbians exist only as a punchline and society’s gender roles are viciously enforced. This was particularly clear during Tear Jerk, a frankly uncomfortable song in which the poor guy spends the whole time beating himself up for wanting to cry at a movie – even worse a chick flick. I can hear the sound of some fragile masculinity shattering.

If you find men crying and women lying during a bad date hilarious, this is the show for you. Otherwise, I would recommend finding something else.

Reviews by M Johnson

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The Blurb

A wonderful, quirky, off-Broadway musical that met with huge success when first produced. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is presented in the form of a series of vignettes connected by the central theme of love and relationships. Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.

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