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“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”

Not knowing what to expect, I found this to be a gentle, funny, perspicacious, poignant and often close to the knuckle show, which was a series of scenes observing life in general from first date to old age, all very well perceived by the writers and performed by an excellent cast, who moved from character to character with energy and confidence.

The minimalistic set worked well, with the cast moving props as they exited or entranced, and all appeared to be seamless.

The lighting was good, it reflected each of the different scenarios well, and at all times the sound was excellent.

Director Frances Hall made sure the various nuances of humour, sadness and everything else in between was identified by the cast, and I loved their facial expressions throughout, never relaxing, always playing out the script to the end. The small touches often conveyed by a look or a touch, showed Frances’ eye for detail.

Beth Thomas had a duo of keyboard and violin (Emily Wright and Paul Costin), who played some lovely accompaniments and the violin part at the start of Act 2 was stunning.  The cast sang everything with expression, and what I particularly liked was the musicality without resorting to shouting – lovely to hear.

The costumes were suitable for each cast member, and the concept of each character having their signature colour worked well.

In what was essentially an ensemble piece there were no weak links.  The cast of Jenna Ryder-Oliver, Richard Alexander, Emma Orr, Steve Peters, Jo Yirrell and John O’Leary all gave rounded and insightful portrayals of many differing characters.

There were certain pieces that made an impression.  I loved John O’Leary’s Arthur, his demeanour and body language encompassed the feel of an old man so well.  I also enjoyed his scene with Jo Yirrell where they were watching a film on TV – great comedy from both of them.

Steve Peters number as the husband, reflecting on 30 years together was very poignant, and the shared understanding smile between him and Jo Yirrell as his wife was lovely. Steve also made the husband in the Family That Drives Together very real, and I loved the use of the sofa with headlights – well thought out.

Emma Orr had a couple of standout moments, one was her rendition of Always a Bridesmaid, in a ridiculous dress, I really felt for her, and her video piece as Rose Ritz was excellent, I also liked the staging of it with her performing live to camera, a very good directorial touch.

Jenna Ryder-Oliver performed a very wistful number in Act 1 which was different to her usual style, and she did it so well, no frills, just letting her voice and face tell the tale.  

Richard Alexander made the most of the Marriage Tango number with Jenna, I loved the staccato feel of the Tango, and the relationship created by it, they both got it exactly right.  

I also loved Richard’s geeky type, playing against Jo Yirrell’s ditzy girl, such fun.

The production was very suited to the more intimate feel of the Little Theatre, and I enjoyed it very much.  The whole show was brought to life by the experienced cast, Director and MD, to make this a really good evening’s entertainment.

St. Andrew’s Players

“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”review date: 1st December 2018 - The Little theatre, Dunstable

    Director: Frances Hall

MD: Beth Thomas

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