Six cast members, plus a lot of bitterness and heartbreak over exes, I Love You Because is described as ‘a modern twist on Pride and Prejudice’. Apart from the names of the characters (e.g. Marcy Fitzwilliam and Austin Bennett), I’m not really sure how the story relates to Jane Austen’s novel… in fact I think if she saw this ‘modern twist’ she’d be very confused.
That aside (in fact I’m ignoring the alleged nod to Pride and Prejudice), this isn’t a bad attempt at a feel-good musical. Lyrics (Ryan Cunningham) are quite clever and amusing, whilst the music (written by Joshua Salzman) is jazzlike and very enjoyable – particularly But I Do and We’re Just Friends.
The young cast really throw themselves into the production and their energy is fantastic to watch. Holly Julier (Marcy) has a lovely voice and performs her role with a naive sweetness that is charming and yet somehow a little bit feisty. She easily outperforms love interest Austin (Josh Little), but sadly their relationship just isn’t believable.
In contrast, there is real chemistry between Diana (Annie Kirkman) and Jeff (John Hicks), despite their characters having nothing in common and, let’s face it, no chance of a happily ever after! Their performance of We’re Just Friends is both amusing and touching and they both have a firm grip on their characters.
I Love You Because is a bit ridiculous in places and there are plenty of moments where it’s embarrassingly cheesy. Yet in spite of all its cutesy corniness, this is actually a well-executed piece of theatre that will make you cringe but will also make you smile.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
8th February 2014