I love you, you’re perfect now change, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts’ popular song cycle premiered Off-Broadway in 1996, and went on to run for over 5,000 performances until 2008. In 2017, the show was substantially rewritten to reflect contemporary love, relationships, and references and is now presented for the first time in the UK by the recently refurbished Chiswick Playhouse. This updated show has been cut running at a slick 80 minutes, and plays until November 30th.
Director Charlotte Westenra, has kept the staging of the song cycle simple, with a bare set leaving the story telling to the cast of four who swap and change characters throughout the show. With lots of moving of chairs and tables, the cast cleverly recreate cinemas, cars, restaurants and homes. The benefit of a song cycle is the chance of showcasing different vignettes and ‘love stories’, from first dates, to wedded bliss, to parting at a funeral – a full life cycle of many relationships in a very short period of time!
A stand out moment is the ‘Funerals are for dating shows’ number, where both George Rae and Dominic Hodson shine in their comedic moments, playing OAPs who find love in an unexpected setting. Laura Johnson held her own in ‘Always a Bridesmaid’, with an impressive number of dress changes – props to seamstress Natalia Alvarez. Naomi Slights, showed strength in her vulnerability in her scene, ‘I will be loved tonight’.
With so many locations, characters and stories, there were slight slips on the accents- however this was a whirlwind piece- jam-packed with witty sketches and snippets of relationships- and each was packed with energy and gusto from the very skilled cast of four. A real joy to watch.