Relationship woes

2011-02-17 00:00

MEN and women are endlessly bumping into each other like vengeful bumper cars. This is just one of the many colourful descriptions of relationships which crops up in KickstArt Theatre Company’s fabulous new show I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.

This American musical comedy, written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, examines love and relationships through a series of vignettes, performed with aplomb by Steven Stead (taking a well-earned break from his usual director’s chair), Lisa Bobbert, Roland Perold and Jessica Sole. Providing the musical accompaniment are Justin Southey on piano and Jane Baillie on violin.

Greg King directs the players and is also the skilled hand who created the simple but effective set made up of giant cards celebrating love.

The show kicks off with a look at those painful first dates when you’re trying to impress the opposite sex and feeling vulnerable; before taking a look at the desperate search to end one’s single status no matter how unsuitable the prospective mate; marriage; parenthood; lasting love; and the relationships of old age.

One of my favourite scenes involved Bobbert playing a bridesmaid and singing about how the brides always manage to put her in dresses which make her look awful. It’s extremely funny and reminded me irresistably of the scene in the film 27 Dresses when the heroine, Jane Nichols, opens her cupboard and is faced with a rainbow array of hideous bridesmaids outfits.

Bobbert also shines with Stead in a tango-inspired scene in which the pair play the parents of two boisterous boys and instead of retiring for the night decide sex is on the menu.

Another Stead shining moment is a scene in which a couple are reading a newspaper and having coffee and the husband marvels at the love he and his wife have shared for 30 years. His solo is both beautifully sung and extremely moving.

Sole, a third-year University of KwaZulu-Natal student, is a real talent with a stunning voice and plenty of acting chops. She and Perold have real chemistry in their scenes together — playing everything from a couple in the early stages of dating to a bride and groom and even new parents whose vocabulary has taken a regressive step.

Sole is especially good in a scene in which she plays a divorcée recording a video for a dating site. She can’t quite keep her bitterness at bay, and her brutal honesty is both funny and poignant.

As for Perold, I loved him as an endearing new dad, who admits that becoming a parent has seen him become “quite incoherent”, and his scene with Bobbert in which they play an elderly man and woman who meet at a funeral and consider going on a date. It’s played with fine comic timing and a sweet poignancy.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is the second-longest running off-Broadway musical in the history of Broadway. Having seen it, I’m not surprised. No matter what your age, you’ll be able to connect with this funny and deeply heart-warming show.


•  I Love You, You’re Perfect, No Change is at the Elizabeth Sneddon Theatre, UKZN, Durban until February 27. Performances are Wednesday to Saturday at 7.30 pm, Sunday at 6 pm and Saturday at 2.30 pm. Tickets are R120 at Computicket.

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