Aug 16, 2018
by Alexa Chipman
Inspired by the joys and heartache of romantic encounters, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is a quirky musical revue with lively, captivating songs by Joe DiPietro andJimmy Roberts. Vignettes of couples during various stages of dating and marriage emerge in a shifting landscape of desire and disappointment. Raven Players has produced the updated 2018 version, which includes new songs, women who no longer sit around waiting for a phone call, but are proactive in searching for happiness, LGBTQA couples and revised references to online dating technology.
A charismatic cast of four shifts ages and personalities with each scene, from an elderly couple discovering love at a funeral parlor to the hilarious “The Family that Drives Together…” featuring a classic road trip leading to bickering and frayed nerves. The opening songs were shaky, but the ensemble quickly found a rhythm and forged ahead with dynamic enthusiasm.
The decision to transform the theater into an intimate black box arrangement was ideal for this play; audience members are able to enjoy the action up close in pseudo cabaret seating. Dan Spears’ lighting design of vivid colors, such as magenta and royal blue, balance well with the Ben-Day dot patterned set paintings, reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein’s work.
Diane Bailey’s direction emphasizes over-the-top caricatures, which is a wise decision for songs that are rather frivolous, but can be distracting when it goes too far. “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz” with Kelly Considine is a gem in this production. A recent divorcée whose husband left her without notice sits down for an eloquent stream of consciousness to her laptop, finding healing through unconditional honesty. Bohn Conner’s exaggerated eyebrows and macho portrayals are toned down for “I Can Live With That” in a heartfelt tribute to finding love at any age. Amusing chemistry between Troy Thomas Evans and Tika Moon emerges at the movie theater; his grudging presence at a film without action and gore breaks down, as he finds himself sobbing into the popcorn.
Celebrate the tumultuous journey of romance and family with this delightful musical. ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ offers well-meaning jabs at modern matchmaking and is a gratifying commentary on the ups and downs of true love.
Presented by Raven Players through August 19, 2018
Thurs/Fri/Sat at 8:00pm, Sun at 2:00pm
Photos courtesy of Ray Mabry Photography.
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