The latest digital show from Lambert Jackson Productions and the London Coliseum is the Off-Broadway hit, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
I last saw the show on stage at the Chiswick Playhouse in 2019, and found it an unusual but entertaining four-hander, pushing far above its weight in the musical arena.
Covering the stories of coupledom in a series of vignettes from early dating to funeral flowers, this version drops a couple of the pieces I really liked in Chiswick, but keeps most of the best scenes across a 77-minute running time.
Oliver Tompsett, Brenda Edwards, Simon Lipkin and Alice Fearn play the vast cast of characters and all have a highlight. Fearn’s ‘Always the Bridesmaid’ solo steals the mid-point of the show, with Lipkin’s cinematic cryer and Tompsett’s doting gay dad coming a close second.
Best of all, though, are Edwards’ contrasting bits as the “set in her ways” widow, and delighted tennis chum about “to be loved”. The glint in her eye and the joy in his heart as she catches Tompsett’s nervy sports addict is infectious.
The strength of Joe DiPietro’s book and lyrics is to hold a realistic mirror up to dating, relationships and parenthood; utilising the fun, the awkward, and the naughty bits of “getting to know you”.
The music by Jimmy Roberts mixes a variety of styles to fit each story, from the rhythm-fused ‘A Stud and a Babe’ to the reflective ‘I Can Live With That’ and the raucous ‘Marriage Tango’.
Some scenes are all-out hilarious: Fearn’s divorced Rose recording a dating video is one example. The ennui of men not listening is amusingly told in ‘Single Man Drought’, which also includes asides to the audience.
Aside from the opening, other parts of the London Coliseum auditorium are not used as settings during the show; just the stage set up with the empty levels of seats behind. It’s becoming a familiar sight, but will never cease to fill any regular theatre-goer with regret.
This musical is far from the theatre’s usual fare of big blockbusters with full orchestra, but the current crisis and experiments in digital theatre are giving us chance to see lesser-known titles in surprising settings.
Kirk Jameson directs this show, pulling out as much variety as possible; making use of close-ups and interesting cuts to keep the musical moving along.
Nick Barstow’s assured musical direction and Rory Beaton’s lighting design must be commended for bringing atmosphere and emotion to such a cavernous space.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is streaming until 30 January – purchase tickets (£15 plus booking fee) here.
Image credit; Sophie Ross
LouReviews received complimentary access to review I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.
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