Reimagined ‘Love’ hits same themes, again
BY MIRIAM DI NUNZIO Staff Reporterfirstname.lastname@example.org June 14, 2013 3:40PM
(From left) Alex Goodrich, Kelly Anne Clark, Johanna McKenzie Miller and Bernie Yvon in "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
‘I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE
PERFECT, NOW CHANGE’
When: Through Aug. 11
Where: Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire
Info: (847) 634-0200;
Run time: 2 hours, with one intermission
Updated: July 16, 2013 6:27AM
Watching the kitschy “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” in its latest incarnation at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, the ultimate life’s cliche kept popping into my head: Love is hard work.
After two hours of this off-Broadway musical revue that ran for more than 5,000 performances over 13 years in its New York heyday, not only does love prove to be hard work, but exhausting, aggravating, boring, fun, exciting, anxiety-filled, spontaneous and orchestrated. No revelations here to anyone who’s ever found the one person they want to share their life with. Or maybe just their Saturday night.
And so it goes in the tableau created by playwright/lyricist Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts. Four characters — two men, two women — bring to life an array of singles and couples, each dealing with the eternal struggle to find the perfect mate, then mold them into something they truly envisioned.
The quartet of actors — Bernie Yvon, Kelly Anne Clark (who starred in Marriott’s original production 14 years ago), Alex Goodrich and Johanna McKenzie Miller — navigate the phases of dating, falling in and out of love, marriage, children, old age and everything in between. Without a breakout song to give the show its “moment,” the show relies on cute cabaret-style tunes that you won’t be humming when you leave; but you’ll recall them as the “song about having great sex” or “the song about speed-dating woes” or “the song about still loving someone after 30 years of marriage.”
Directed by Matt Raftery, the production moves briskly, incorporating clever set changes and necessary video projections to set up each scene. The musical accompaniment, piano by Patti Garwood and violin by Steve Winkler, gives a cabaret flair; this show screams out for an intimate setting.
A few of the vignettes are standouts, such as “Satisfaction Guaranteed,” in which a peppy TV lawyer/pitchman offers up a legal eagle to ensure “bedroom contracts” are adhered to. “The Baby Song” is a pitch-perfect ode to parents who think their newborns are the bee’s knees (an homage to STFUparentsblog.com?). “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You?” is perhaps the most poignant (and the showstopper on this particular night) as a long-married husband and wife share a well-worn breakfast table routine as he lists reasons why he shouldn’t still be in love with the woman across from him, ultimately proclaiming, oh yes he is.
Nothing here is earth-shattering, just plenty of contemporary love, American-style, such as online and speed-dating desperation, as well as age-old conventions such as “always a bridesmaid, never a bride,” “why doesn’t he call when he says he will?,” “I’m only pretending I’m interested in anything you’re saying.”
All of which proves love is a many splendored thing, unless it’s your turn to do the dishes, take out the trash or change the diapers. Some things never change.