Winner of the ‘most ridiculously long show title ever’ award, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is New York’s second longest running off-Broadway show and after seeing it on Tuesday it is perfectly clear why. From the first date to the wedding day the show takes a look at stereotypical relationship situations in a super funny comedy sketch style and makes for about the most fun it is possible to have in a theatre.
Let’s just address the most obviously brilliant part of the show first: its completely A-List cast. When the show was first announced this was definitely what drew me in; when else are you going to get the chance to see Julie Atherton, Gina Beck, Simon Lipkin and Samuel Holmes perform together in a 60-seat theatre? All excellent performers in their own right, when they are put together they become some sort of superpowered musical theatre monster that could literally make anything entertaining. So it’s almost too much of a treat that the show is really hilarious too!
Written by Joe Dipietro and Jimmy Roberts and first premiering in 1996, this show has clearly stood the test of time and is as funny now as it would have been back then. Featuring some really hilarious lines and offering a super quick journey through all the stereotypical stages of a relationship, it left me smiling/crying with laughter throughout. The genius of the script is that it really allows the actors to show their versatility and perform a wide range of roles, from a couple on their first date to an elderly pair meeting at a funeral. It even allows for improvisation – brilliantly demonstrated by Simon Lipkin as he was pretending to be a mass murderer looking for love. Someone knocked over their glass and he absolutely did not hold back in yelling at them to pick it up! I might have liked to see some of the American references changed to be more British – though this is such a minor thing and it really didn’t affect my enjoyment of the show very much.
I don’t think the soundtrack to this show works well by itself – I listened to it before seeing the show and wasn’t really too convinced – but upon witnessing it live it becomes like an entirely different set of songs. My favourite scenes included Julie Atherton’s brilliant rendition of I Will Be Loved Tonight, an interesting and heartfelt break from the full on humour-fest that is the rest of the show. I think one of the funniest scenes had to be Tear Jerk, which involved Simon Lipkin being somewhat overwhelmed by a girly film his partner (played in this scene by Gina Beck) had dragged him to see. He Called Me was another highlight, allowing the aforementioned Gina Beck to show off her impressive soprano range. Finally, the closing number I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, really left the show on an incredibly positive note and made me feel certain that I’d just witnessed some of the highest quality musical theatre London has to offer.
Mention must also go to the brilliant direction by Kirk Jameson who made exquisite use of what limited space he had available in the studio and seamlessly transported the audience to a range of scenes with just a few chairs and items of clothing. The whole production and feel of the relatively new studio space was excellent and I loved that you could pick your own seats when you arrived – I was lucky and managed to end up on the front row but am sure you would get a good view from anywhere.
Getting to see some of the West End’s finest in such an intimate space was a real treat and one that I will definitely hope to recreate in the future. Honestly one of the most fun nights out I’ve ever had, I cannot recommend I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change enough.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is playing at the Above the Arts Theatre until 18th July.