Situated in the quaint and quirky space of the Battersea Barge, the performance space set with four small round tables with single chairs and a pint glass placed on each one. Lit by deep red and pink lights giving the stage a very warm feel, alluding to the forthcoming events of the evening’s performance of I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change.
I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change is a show with a theme of relationships and love presented to us in a series of short episodes. The tagline of the musical is “Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.” With a few anomaly’s to the trend, the segmented episodes follow the course and stages of a relationship throughout a person’s life. Resulting in a ‘first date’ being an episode prior to an episode of ‘marriage’ which comes before an episode on ‘raising children’. The Battersea Barge’s production of I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change, directed by Drew Baker, stuck true to the original Off-Broadway production by only having four cast members: David Ribi, Sarah Goggin, Nic Kyle and Chloe Taylor.
Throughout the entire show most of the performance was directed out to the audience with the performers playing off of the audience and breaking the fourth wall. Highlights of this were the songs ‘Single Man Drought’, ‘Tear Jerk’ and ‘Always A Bridesmaid’ with the specific highlight of the hilarious monologue section executed extremely well by Sarah Goggin of ‘The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz’. However, moments of the actors being side-on to the audience meant we lost a minor section of the story-telling.
The direction by Drew Baker to play almost all of the show out to the audience is suited extremely well for the fun and easy-going style of show, which resulted in getting a lot of laughs from the audience. Although personally this isn’t my favourite style of delivery, it was very well executed and was aided by the intimacy of the space by enabling performers to lock onto a specific audience member and deliver a line directly at them. Although the space at The Battersea Barge is extremely small it was well utilised by having the performers that were not being used in certain scenes sat at the tables upstage looking in on the action.
The score for I Love You You’re Perfect Now Change was originally only written for a Piano and a Violin reflecting the romanticism of the show. The music of the show covers a vast range of styles from the ‘Marriage Tango’ which includes a smooth sliding violin line which oozes the sex of a tango compared to a short staccato piano line reinforcing the strength of the dance. This is heavily contrasted by the song ‘Tear Jerk’ which purports to be a standard Musical Theatre anecdotal solo, with very minimal music, which suddenly turns into the style of a love ballad with a gooey swirling melody line. Proving that, although the show only consists of two instruments, it can still evoke a reaction from the audience.
All in all the show itself is very funny and light-hearted: from certain lines of songs, to the delivery of the straight acting scenes and the over emphasised performing of the stereotypical melodramatic moments. Standout performances come from Sarah Goggin’s very believable version of ‘I Will Be Loved Tonight’, and from David Ribi for his liquidy vocals and gorgeous legato line throughout the song ‘Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You’.
Reviewed by Tom Yates