Friday, 20 September 2013

THEATRE REVIEW: I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

An old favourite returns to Derry-Londonderry - and it's as funny, grounded and professionally performed as ever

With nearly nine months as the City Of Culture 2013 theatre producer of Derry-Londonderry's Playhouse behind him, Kieran Griffiths decides to have some fun by bringing back an old favourite.

And what fun he has too.

Seven years ago, this reviewer saw Griffiths and his ageless cast-mates, Alan Wright, Michelle Forbes and Jude Cornett, take on Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts' riotous musical comedy on the exact same stage. Today, these actors do much more than simply play their numerous roles; they inhabit them.

Griffiths' hands on, no holds barred directorial approach is the perfect fit for I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, a unique pop-cultural pastiche of extremely high and low satirical art that amuses, bemuses and delights all at once.  

I Love You... is less a straightforward story than a series of distinctive sketches and vignettes about love, marriage, sex and relationships. Each sketch is amusingly introduced by three cue-card carrying local girls (Caoimhe Convery, Dearbhaile McKinney and Sinead Sharkey). And each scene features very different characters, moods and issues, allowing every cast member to be extremely expressive in what amounts a thinking person's comedic chronicle of the pros and cons of finding someone to spend your life with. Or not. It's Friends without benefits and boundaries, or Woody Allen with as few inhibitions as possible.

The laughs and messages come thick and fast amidst many catchy and sometimes affecting show tunes, be they about singledom, getting laid, one's first true love, one's last true love, marriage, parenthood or death.

Good vibrations spread all around the theater, even to musical director and pianist Maurice Kelly in between scenes – his reactions to the attention he receives from the "cue card girls" are rather priceless, just some of many memories one can take from this extremely enjoyable, grounded and professional production.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change runs in Derry-Londonderry's Playhouse Theatre until Saturday September 21.