KPBS AIRDATE: December 24, 2004
I love them, they’re perfect, but now it’s gonna change. After a year at the Theatre in Old Town , the fun, frothy musical revue, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” is movin ’ on. I saw the mostly New York opening-cast last January, and finally caught the current crew, just a scant coupla weeks before they depart. And am I glad I did. Shepherded by Joel Bishoff , the show’s original Off Broadway director, this all-local cast, almost all alumni of SDSU, is outstanding. The musical itself, a series of mostly comical vignettes, chronicles the intricate confusion of courtship and relationship, from dating and mating to marriage and kids, divorce and re-dating to widowhood and starting the cycle all over again. I think the show has grown on me, after four viewings in the past 3 ½ years. But it’s easy to love with this wonderful cast, which manages to make the sometimes superficial observations of the writers, Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, feel substantial and even significant. The acting is so strong that these sometimes silly situations become thoroughly credible, without any over-the-top, campy shtick.
It’s a surprisingly simple production — minimal sets and lighting, quick-change costumes. But the performers make you feel the anguish without forcing the humor, and that’s a fine line to walk without tripping up. Nick Spear, Rebecca Spear, Susan DeLeon and Ryan Drummond are delightfully versatile, each amusing or poignant as the need arises. No new ground is broken, but the familiarity certainly comfortably caresses the funnybone . There’s enough elbow-nudging in the audience for a roller-derby tournament. Consider it a great escape for couples and friends, first-dates and long- marrieds . Catch it before it leaves; it makes for an ideal segue to its successor in Old Town , which opens January 6, considering the age-old dilemma; “The Male Intellect: An Oxymoron?”
Meanwhile, if you want to see the stars of tomorrow, there are three young people in the Lamb’s Theatre Festival of Christmas, ranging in age from 10 to 16, who have superb stage presence, killer comic timing and stellar singing chops. Check out adorably gifted Michael Drummond, Ian Gilligan and Courtney Evans. The Lamb’s Players have a knack for discovering and developing talented youth. If you like to watch ‘em grow , see these saplings now… and reap the rewards both present and future. Oh, and by the way, the adult performers in “Northern Lights” are terrific, too – a bevy of Lamb’s regulars who create quirky characters and make beautiful music together.
Whatever you do over the next week or so, make these theatrical holidays – and have a Dramatic New Year!
©2004 Patté Productions Inc.