BWW Reviews: I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Touches on Human Truths
In Robert Anderson's play You Know I Can't Hear You When the Water's Running, a writer pitches a producer on including small human moments in their upcoming play. Moments that the audience will take delight in identifying with their own lives. He calls it the shock of recognition. That phrase best sums up much of the appeal of the long running off-Broadway show I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change. The show enjoyed a 12-year run in New York and has gone on to be presented all over the world.Much of the credit for the success of this production by Angelwalk and Koogle Theatre is due to director Evan Tsitsias who keeps the staging brisk, simple and uncluttered. A few chairs and a table are all that are needed to establish the setting for each number.
Music director Scott Christian ensures that the performers are secure in their musical performances. Jimmy Roberts provides the music and while it lacks a single stand-out tune that will leave you wanting more, it does hit all the right notes emotionally. The best parts of the songs are Joe DiPietro's often insightful lyrics which the cast delivers with precision.
Early on Leslie Kay and Allison O'Neil present their lament about a "Single Man Drought" winning laughter and applause. Both ladies have strong voices which blend nicely without overshadowing each other. Kay has delicious way of throwing us a knowing look as she delivers some of the more acerbic lines, while O'Neill finds subtle ways to explore the touching truths that thread through most of the songs.
Opposite them, Dean Hollin and Christopher Alan Gray humorously offer up the male point of view in "Why? 'Cause I'm a Guy." Hollin in particular has a sweet voice and plays many scenes with a dopey innocence. Gray is a more traditional leading man type and the contrast between the two severs the subtext very effectively.
That subtext is greatly supported by the tender violin of Tamara Hrycak supplying the romantic counterpoint to Evan Tsitsias' driving keyboard. It's a small "orchestra" but even so provides a rich range of musical colors to accompany the performers.
Most of all, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is light-hearted fun. The best example of this is a family auto trip in the second half called "On the Highway of Love" which is loaded with simple truths that will have many viewers thinking "Hey, that's just like us." Robert Anderson was right - nothing pleases an audience more than seeing their own lives reflected on stage.
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is on stage in the Studio Theatre at the Toronto centre for the Arts until June 2. For tickets or performance information log onto www.angelwalk.ca or call the box office at 1-855-985-2787.
Photo by Raph Nogal Photography