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I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change begins on a weird note. Employing a gothic score that would be at-home in a horror film, the camera sweeps around the Baroque, deserted interior of the London Coliseum. Without people, the space is just eery. As the viewer is shown the ornate but barren auditorium, a powerful voice booms out, reciting the opening verses of the bible. As this unseen narrator lists a litany of biblical lines, audiences would be forgiven for thinking that this wasn’t the romcom-musical they were promised… Well, until: “Then God created Man… oh and yeah, woman too”. The tongue-in-cheek jokes begin.
Written by Joe DiPierto and Jimmy Roberts, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a musical comedy all about the highs and lows of ‘modern’ love. A stalwart of the off-Broadway scene, the show offers a series of stand-alone vignettes that chronicle the reality of ‘real relationships’. From the awkward anxiety of first dates to the demanding difficulties of being a parent and finding time for sex, watching the musical is like looking in a mirror… if you’re over 40.
Although the catchy songs are a delight for audiences of any age, the subject matter and jokes are definitely for those a bit older. Whether lamenting that all the eligible bachelors are gone, “there’s a serious single man drought!”, or joking that “funerals are really for dating”, the snapshot sketches parody experiences that only those of a certain age will have faced. They’re still funny, but in a nostalgic way.
But it’s more just the subject matter that’s slightly dated: the musical’s framing of certain issues also hasn’t aged well. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change was first performed in 1997, and that’s fairly obvious from how it depicts its content. Sometimes it’s via an off-hand comment, like a gay father being told he was “becoming straight”, and other times it’s built into the sketch – I don’t know any millennial or Gen Z-er, for example, who still subscribes to the “3rd Date Rule”. Either way, the fact that this is a revival is unlikely to leave your mind.
Nevertheless, it has been revived with flair. Over the last year Lambert Jackson have proven themselves to be the UK authority when it comes to delivering virtual theatre and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is another fantastic notch in their belt. Layering visual reference on top of visual reference, director Kirk Jameson takes full advantage of the semi-cinematic form, breathing new comedic life into the stage show – watching him turn ‘The Baby Song’ into an 1980s music video is worth the ticket price alone.
Moreover, his direction is carried by a phenomenally charismatic cast. Simon Lipkin (Nativity), Brenda Edwards (We Will Rock You), Alice Fearn (Wicked), and Oliver Tompsett (Kinky Boots) all imbue the musical with so much personality and charm that it becomes a sure winner. They zing off each other with gusto, before belting out another vivacious vocal display; truly top notch.
Honestly, watching I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is like revisiting an old sitcom from the ‘90s: it’s clear that some elements haven’t aged too well, but the cast is charismatic, the subject matter is nostalgic, and it’s a fun (if unprovoking) watch.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is available online until the 30th January – find out more and buy tickets at London Coliseum’s website