Tag Archives: Steven Harris

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change


Chiswick Playhouse

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Chiswick Playhouse

Reviewed – 5th November 2019



“All the actors deliver stellar performance and vocal work, and there is a real sense of ensemble chemistry between them which is a joy to behold”


I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a musical about relationships which, yes, sounds as generic and cliché as they come. However, those initial preconceptions are swiftly blasted away as the sheer quality of the skill and craft involved with the writing and production elevates this to a level of entertainment that leaves you consistently surprised and delighted.

Originally debuting in 1996 and becoming the second longest-running off-Broadway musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change saw extensive rewrites in 2017 from its writer Joe DiPietro and composer Jimmy Roberts. Despite certain songs and cultural references being updated, the concept of the show has remained unchanged: that of a series of musical vignettes that all centre around the themes of love and relationships. Although the characters and stories in each vignette are unconnected, together they form a trajectory through a relationship, from its beginning to its end. The ways in which the first two thirds of the show build up the exploration of its core ideas is fantastic, although the somewhat rushed and less interrogative final third makes for an underwhelming end.

That said, the contexts that DiPietro’s script has devised for each of these episodes are excellent, depicting relatable situations and feelings surrounding first date anxieties, pre-wedding meltdowns, and child-raising exhaustions. The dialogue preambling the songs is snappy and characterful, and the lyrics are clever, quippy, and punchy. Roberts’ score also keeps the texture of each scene feeling different to the last by dipping into a variety of styles, from rap to bee-bop, although this felt at odds with the piano-only accompaniment from musical director Stuart Pedlar.

Highlights of the show include ‘Better Things to Do’, where two men (George Rae and Dominic Hodson) on a first date decide to pretend they’re much further along in the relationship to avoid awkwardness; ‘Tear Jerk’, where Hodson desperately tries to gauge the right way to react to the chick flick his date (Laura Johnson) has opted to see with him; and ‘Marriage Tango’, in which Rae and his wife (Naomi Slights) precariously juggle looking after their children with their sex life. All the actors deliver stellar performance and vocal work, and there is a real sense of ensemble chemistry between them which is a joy to behold, although Hodson must be singled out for bringing an expert level of comedy to every character he portrays, from vindictive vicar to flirtatious funeral-goer.

Charlotte Westenra’s direction, along with Steven Harris’ choreography and Verity Johnson’s design all work in harmony to keep the focus squarely on the stories being told without ever resorting to gimmicks or flashiness – a smart choice indeed, as many of the stories are well-worth hearing. They’re a comfort to our insecurities, an opportunity to poke fun at the intimate anxieties of others, and at times a poignant reflection on the ways we handle relationships. I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change isn’t quite perfect, but exceptionally easy to love.


Reviewed by Ethan Doyle

Photography by Savannah Photographic


I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

Chiswick Playhouse until 30th November


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Sophie, Ben, and Other Problems | ★★★★ | April 2018
Sirens of the Silver Screen | ★★★ | June 2018
Sexy Laundry | ★★★ | November 2018
Carl’s Story | ★★★★ | March 2019
Harper Regan | ★★★★ | May 2019
The Importance Of Being Earnest | ★★★★ | June 2019
Type On Paper | ★★★★ | July 2019


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But it Still Goes on – 4 Stars


But it Still Goes on

Finborough Theatre

Reviewed – 13th July 2018


“the problems in the script are predominantly carried by a strong, committed cast.”


Tableaux of war open the world premier of Robert Graves’ 1929 play, ‘But It Still Goes On’. This is a “post-catastrophic comedy” that mixes farce with tragedy and discusses post war disillusionment, creative jealousy and repressed homosexuality, amidst a tangled web of lovers and a gun that follows them all through the play.

The cast is strong across the board. Alan Cox is sharply witty, wicked and playful as Dick, stuck in the shadow of his blundering father’s (Jack Claff) literary achievements. The character is written a little too flippantly, making it more difficult to engage with Dick on an emotional level but to Caves’ credit he still carries the performance.

The most affecting scene of the play, is the beautiful moment between David and Charlotte, played movingly, respectively by Victor Gardener and Sophie Ward, as both confess, with a quiet resignation, their repressed sexualities and make plans to “normalise” themselves through marriage. It is a deeply sad indictment of the times and their fates are equally tragic, the product of a homophobic society and the necessity to conform.

There is a tendency towards melodrama, particularly in the latter portion of the play, again a product of the writing rather than the acting. The lurking figure of war feels unnecessarily symbolic, given that the text discusses this at such length, and it is a sometime jarring addition to an overly busy stage.

The set is uninspiring, a white marquee edging the stage which is punctuated by clumsy and bland pieces of furniture. The costumes, on the other hand, are beautifully put together, eveningwear and tennis outfits alike, showcasing costume designer Lindsay Hill’s clear eye for detail and quality.

An entertaining evening that discusses sexuality and post-war feeling in time for the centenary of the First World War, the problems in the script are predominantly carried by a strong, committed cast.

Reviewed by Amelia Brown

Photography by Scott Rylander


But it Still Goes on

Finborough Theatre until 4th August



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