BWW Reviews: I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE!, Riverside Studios, October 31 2012
Mix a little Victoria Wood with a little "Defending the Caveman" and a little Saturday Night Live and you'll have something that's a lot like "I love you, you're perfect, now change!" (at The Riverside Studios until 4 November). Two guys and two gals sing, josh and, yep, prick just a little tear from time to time, as they track love's sweet sorrows from first fumbling flirts to the compensations of companionship as the sun sets on a life.
Joe DiPetro and Jimmy Roberts' show has been performed over 5000 times off-Broadway and it's not shy of showing its American roots. The actors speak (even sing) in American accents, and they've little choice really, as the references and set-ups are very USA. American accents are hardly new on the London stage and there's plenty enough common ground for the jokes and observations to cross the pond seamlessly.
With voices (slightly disappointingly) amplified, the songs are belted out with gusto, accompanied by a (praise-be) live piano (from Rob Downton). Pick of the songs is Nancy Hill's Patsy Cline-ish "Always the Bridesmaid", but there's good work too from Andrew Irvine and Kathleen McNamara has a couple of desperate too-shy / too-pushy tennis partners and Callum Mcardle hits just the right note as a widower singing to his departed wife.
There's a few clunky scene changes (not helped by the wide, narrow stage) and (inevitably in a show like this) some songs are a bit too cheesy, some a little too cloying, some a bit too much all round, but the gentle humour grows on an audience that nod and nudge in recognition of scenes plucked from the universally known battle of the sexes.