‘I Love’ traveling through the stages of love

Rehearsal photo by Jeff Blim

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, music by Jimmy Roberts, Ciitizen’s Bank Performing Arts Series, The Palace Theatre, 9/23/11-10/8/11, http://www.palacetheatre.org/event-calendar.aspx?event=438&dt=9/23/2011&category=ALL.

Reviewed by Leah White

(Manchester, NH) The opening show of the 2011-2012 Season at New Hampshire’s Palace Theatre is I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.  It has four actors, several singles and marrieds, and many, many chairs.

The first act of this enormously funny show focuses on the dating scene.  With Jeff Blim, Kiley L. McDonald, Shane Patrick O’Neill, and Kelsey White onstage, and the audience rolling in the aisles, the preview performance was sensational.  Even the minor staging gaffes contributed to a wonderful evening of theatre.

From the first lines of the first song, the actors and the material grab your attention and let you know that you’ll have fun and that you shouldn’t take this show (or yourself) too seriously.  The humor is broad and campy.  Jeff Blim and Kiley L. McDonald are delightful in the first scene about a new version of speed dating, but it’s the supreme awkwardness of Kelsey White and Shane Patrick O’Neill that confirm your solid appraisal of the show.  The four actors undergo a staggering number of costume and wig changes at the speed of light, all the while maintaining incredibly high energy and great performances.

Skilled cast aside, other aspects of the show also contribute to the production’s success. The set is a massive jigsaw puzzle, slightly misaligned, but perfectly representative of how people come together as couples.  A different chair placed onstage through a mid-stage opening for almost every scene provides minimal but appreciated scenic development, and four rolling chairs make a very believable family car.  The costumes, while overwhelmingly numerous, add greatly to each song; in fact, the actors’ handling of a mustache that wouldn’t stay on and a wedding dress that wouldn’t zip was so spectacular that the director should consider incorporating these mistakes into the show.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is playing through October 8th and is definitely one of the most enjoyable evenings you’ll have this fall.

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