By Laurie Scarborough
Theatre on the Bay’s latest offering is the comedy musical revue, I love you, you’re perfect, now change, which opened on 26 July. Forgiving a very long title, the show was deliciously hilarious and captured life with, at times, brutal honesty that made it all the more funny.
With a top-notch quirky and hysterical book and lyrics, by Joe DiPietro, and music by Jimmy Roberts, the show could hardly put a foot wrong in its off-Broadway run, at which it was (and remains) the second-longest running show of all time.
The show chronicles the ups and downs of love in the modern age, from first dates, to dealing with in-laws, to wedding day reflections, and even divorce. A series of dialogues and songs take you through love at its best and worst, and in fact life at its best and worst.
It was easy to recognize yourself in the characters, who were excellently brought to life by Claire Taylor, Taryn-Lee Hudson, Brandon Lindsay, and Neels Clasen. They all played several different characters, changing costumes, wigs, and accents in a flash, to be right back on stage in the next scene. Truly, as a performer, this must be a thrillingly challenging show to be a part of, learning to become a true comedic chameleon.
Direction by Elizma Badenhorst and musical direction by Wessel Odendaal made the show a smooth-running success along with the excellent and versatile cast.
Claire Taylor showed herself to have both a very classical sound as well as a more mainstream musical theatre voice, highlighting her vocal strength and flexibility. She and Neels Clasen shared a duet, “Tear Jerk”, which had the audience in stitches, about a man who begrudgingly is forced by his girlfriend to see a rom-com tear jerker, but then finds himself drawn in and has an unexpected emotional reaction.
Taryn-Lee Hudson was outstanding in every character she played, from a bitter mother of a recently single son, to a mother trying negotiate sex during married life, she proved she has the chops to pull of any seriously funny role with ease. Her rendition of “Always a Bridesmaid” was original, quirky and funny, earning her a huge roar of applause at its conclusion.
The show was not only put a seriously wide smile on your face, but also captured some moments of quiet poignancy. “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You” sung by Neels Clasen, which celebrated love in older age in a long marriage, or “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz”, a monologue delivered by Taryn-Lee Hudson about a divorcee taking a stab at love again, both stood out in this regard. These were two of the less funny, but very moving scenes in the show.
This is the perfect show to see with your new partner, with your spouse or with your single friends. It covers so many different aspects of love that it is almost universal. I would definitely recommend giving it a watch. The show closes in Cape Town on 6 August, before transferring to Joburg, so you still have plenty of time to plan a night out and book your tickets.
You can book tickets here.