Arts Club Theatre Company

Dates: 31 July - 30 August 2003
: Granville Island Stage

Reviewer: John Jane





A Musical Revue by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts

Director: Michael Scholar Jr.
Musical Director: Corinne Kessel
Players: Neil Minor, Angela Hendricks, Tracey Power & Scott Walters

Neil Minor and Angela Hendricks
Neil Minor and Angela Hendricks in the 'Tear Jerk' scene
Photo: Andree Lanthier

Perhaps it’s the cynical title that initially excites the curiosity, or more likely Joe DiPietro’s light-hearted, yet hard-hitting dialogue exposing almost every aspect of love relationships that has made I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change the longest running musical revue in Off-Broadway history.

Director Michael Scholar Jr. leads a talented foursome of players in a two-act romp, comprising of seventeen short scenes and roughly fifty different characters. While there is no single storyline that ties the show together, the format works very well and is quite easy for the audience to follow. Each scene is prefaced with a title projected on to the backdrop, as cast members execute costume changes pertaining to the various characters at lightning speed.

Alison Cross’s set design is as basic as it gets. However, the imaginative use of colourful steamer trunks and suitcases certainly facilitates quick changes to the mise-en-scene. These universal props serve well as furniture, coffins, and even moving vehicles.

The first Act opens with the ensemble approaching the stage from behind the audience, dressed in contrasting friar’s cassocks and singing the Cantata for a First Date, the show's opening number. The production moves smoothly into the first scene, entitled ‘Not Tonight, I’m Busy, Busy’ with Neil Minor and Angela Hendricks delightfully playing Pat and Stan, a couple who meet, are attracted to each other, then superficially by-pass all aspects of a normal relationship right up to the breakup.





While most scenes in the first Act are hilarious, ‘The Lasagna Incident’ featuring Tracey Power and Scott Walters as Diane and Chuck takes on a somewhat more poignant tone. After a tennis match, which Diane wins, the couple discuss meeting for dinner. Power is then left alone on stage to sing the affecting ballad I Will be Loved Tonight about a girl thrilled just to have a date.

While Act One depicts couples dealing with the frustrations and glitches that befall the early stages of a liaison, Act Ttwo takes a wry look at post wedding relationships. Hendricks gets the second half rolling brilliantly with arguably the show’s best number, Always a Bridesmaid while dressed in an intentionally unattractive baby blue bridesmaid dress.

Neil Minor and Angela Hendricks
Neil Minor and Angela Hendricks
Photo: Andree Lanthier

In the next scene, ‘Sex and the Married Couple’ Hendricks pairs up again with busy local actor Neil Minor in a true-to-life portrayal of an exhausted married couple vainly attempting to get quiet time together at the end of the day. Their energetic rendition of Marriage Tango is stellar.

It’s a close call, but Hendicks and Power fare better in their performances than their male counterparts. Walters in particular is occasionally guilty of overplaying the zany element of his roles. Generally however, the ensemble displays remarkable synergism in bringing personality to all the characters.

If you enjoy small theatre comedy, and are looking for an enjoyable evening down by False Creek, try and catch this show before the end of August, you won’t be disappointed.

© 2003, John Jane