I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a witty musical revue that tackles modern love in all its forms: from the perils and pitfalls of the first date to marriage, children, and the twilight years of life. Set in the modern world and told in a series of vignettes and songs, it traces the overall arc of relationships throughout the course of a life.
One of the most powerful effects theatre can have is the sense of unification and equality; you feel less alone when you know that someone understands how you feel and is able to demonstrate this on stage. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change uses its comedy-musical format to create the reassuring sense that, whether single, dating, or married, everyone is just as confused, messy, and anxious as you are.
I’ll start off by saying that this is the funniest production I’ve seen this academic year, hands down. Right from the off, with a solemn mock-hymn about the creation of men, women, and dating anxiety, the play establishes its comedic mood: one of ever-so-slightly dark comedy that slowly begins to become more sincere and troubling until the end, yet always maintains a consistently comedic tone.
The entire cast here is excellent; they have to be due to the demanding ‘multi-roling’ which, in conjunction with the various different dramatic moods they have to encompass, requires a high level of stamina and musical ability. The cast do, however, have talent in spades and are able to convincingly pull of an entire range of different characters, ranging from the awkward nerds wishing they could be studs and babes, to the dishevelled, sleepless couple looking after their young child.
In this manner, the play progresses energetically through each stage of life, with humorous scenes at first that appear to grow more sincere and concerned as the cast grows older. One scene which almost had me crying with laughter posed itself jokingly as an advert for a service in which one can sue their partner for lack of sexual prowess, and the blocking in this particular scene was excellent in making the appearance of the lawyer in the bedroom hilarious.
But, before you know it, the musicians and actors have transitioned from this to a sincere song about enduring love and an emotionally impactful scene about coping with divorce, all only an hour after the comedy previously described. And it is this willingness to engage with some of the play’s darker elements, while maintaining the comedic tone that makes it feel particularly inclusive and more honest than it could otherwise, and the actors handle this shift excellently.
However, there is still something to be desired when it comes to inclusivity. Despite the increasing numbers of LGBT+ people within populations, only one sketch involves love blossoming between a lesbian couple. I don’t wish to criticise the play overly for this oversight, but it reeked of tokenism when it came up and, though I imagine most scenes were not scripted gender blind, it wouldn’t have been a difficult thing to include in some more sketches by gender-swapping some of the roles. It’s not a massive issue, but, for a play which strives so much to comically represent everything about the romantic experience, it seemed a great shame that it turned out so heteronormative.
Overall, despite being very far away, I’d absolutely recommend this play for a fun night out; it certainly had the audience in stitches at many points, myself included. The cast and crew are incredibly strong here, and if you can make it, I would say it’s definitely worth a look for an evening of light, yet somewhat complex, entertainment.
Tone Deaf Theatre Company’s ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is on 6th-8th December, 7:30pm at Ushaw College.