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A clever, funny and thought provoking show'

PUBLISHED: 18:01 30 September 2009 | UPDATED: 17:14 16 August 2010

CONSISTING of 20 sketches and 20 songs, I Love You, You re Perfect, Now Change resembles more an extended stand-up comedy routine than

CONSISTING of 20 sketches and 20 songs, I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change resembles more an extended stand-up comedy routine than a bona fide musical, writes Mark Campbell.

Presented by The'atricks Theatre Company at Eltham's Bob Hope Theatre, the show featured just four performers and two musicians. But size isn't everything - as the production ably demonstrated.

Written by Joe DiPetro with music by Jimmy Roberts, I Love You... has been an off-Broadway hit since 1996.

Its subtitle - 'Everything you have ever thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws but were afraid to admit!' - says it all.

Act 1 takes us from a hesitant initial encounter (Cantata for a First Date), via a speed-dating skit in which the couple jump straight to break-up and divorce to save time, to the scary first moment you meet the parents (Hey There Single Gal/Guy).

A hilarious spoof commercial about a law firm who, for a small fee, ensures 'satisfaction guaranteed' during sex leads into the inevitable climax - marriage (Wedding Vows).

After the interval, an amusing entr'acte in which Clare Taylor's violin solo upstages Robert Bottriell's piano-playing continues the 'battle of the sexes' theme and leads succinctly into the highs and lows of wedded life.

Sex (or the lack of it), children, arguments, divorce and death - it's a far cry from the lighter tone of the first half. Shouldn't I Be in Love You? is a heartfelt solo about the possibility of rekindled romance, while the unlikely scenario of dating at a funeral is touched upon in the wistful I Can Live With That.

Larissa Webb and Sarah Coleman were the female contingent of this quartet, while Richard Cooper (also musical director) and Eric Whiting were their unreconstructed male counterparts. Playing a multiplicity of characters of widely differing ages, all four were excellent.

Lively, vibrant, funny, with superb singing voices, Larissa and Sarah were arguably the more talented performers, but this is in no way a criticism of the men - they were up against some stiff opposition.

Adroitly directed by Wendy Reynolds, and employing a busy backstage crew who whizzed props and furniture around seamlessly in the blackouts, I Love You... really was a clever, funny though-provoking little show.

My only criticism would be a technical one - a follow-spot was sorely needed whenever anyone moved off the stage, to avoid them being plunged into darkness.

Mark Campbell

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