Kate Herbert is theatre reviewer, Herald Sun, Melbourne & formerly for Melbourne Times. Kate is a director; produced playwright (21 plays). Scripts pub. Currency Press. She worked as actor, comedian, improviser & teacher of Acting, Improvisation & Playwriting. Kate was Head of Drama/Teacher, NMIT; Coordinator of Prof. Writing/ Editing, Swinburne Uni. Read her reviews here or: www.heraldsun.com.au/entertainment/arts. NB Explorer Browser doesn't always work on blog.
Friday, 12 March 1999
I Love You. You're Perfect. Now Change.
Book and Lyrics by Joe Di Pietro; Music by
Jimmy Roberts Atheneaum Theatre 1 from March 12, 1999
I Love You. You're
Perfect. Now Change has something in common with Mum's the Word which
grabbed enormous, mostly female, generally non-theatre-going audiences Both are
identification theatre: shows which reflect the viewers' own lives in a
While Mum's the Word mirrored motherhood, I Love You
satirises modern relationships. It is by far the better written of the two,
having witty, catchy lyrics (Joe Di Pietro) and snappy, singable show tunes
The show is essentially like a washing line of funny, clever
songs interspersed with sketches of variable comic quality. There no narrative
and no consistent characters but the series of sketches evolve from dating and
singledom through to marriage, parenthood and, finally and least successfully,
to divorce and widowhood.
Dags date, new parents bore friends with baby-speak and husbands
wait while wives shop. Wives wait while husbands watch footy. Single women put
up with boring dates, guys cry in 'chick flicks', an exhausted married couple
plan to have sex, widowed oldies pick up dates at funerals. A couple avoid
dating jitters and sexual tension, skipping straight to the break-up.
The cast of four, directed economically by Andy Gale,
includes Julia Morris, Matt Hetherington, Elizabeth O'Hanlon, Tim Wood. They
are a joyful, energetic, if motley, crew who sing best in a quartet. The solo
numbers, apart from O'Hanlon's, highlight their limited vocal skill.
The songs pass the Old Grey Whistle Test (ie Can you whistle
the tune later?) and the lyrics are hilarious. Morris, as a recidivist
bridesmaid wearing the ubiquitous awful taffeta dress, sings, "All the
husbands are gone, but those dresses live on." Other listenable songs are,
The Single Man Drought, Why? Cause I'm a Guy, Tear Jerk, Cantata for a First
Morris's broad comic style is better suited to musical
comedy than television. She manages to make even some of the less funny
sketches work. Wood and Hetherington make a meal of the comic stereotypical
males: dag, goofy new dad, fraught father who dreams of being Elvis.
The audience of mostly couples identified with the joys and
horrors of relationships. This is an insubstantial show but, despite its
Americanisms, it may hit a similar nerve with Australian audiences. It's been
running three years on Broadway.