Monday, August 20, 2012

Olathe Community Theatre "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" review by BobEvans

No Change Needed
Rating: 5

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Olathe Community Theatre Association

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" offers theatergoers a fun evening of skits and song under the direction of Shelly Stewart who took a talented cast of six and moves them in and out of various lifelike skits from awkward first dates to old age. The show looks at various stages of life for different characters to create a cohesive story even though characters and situations change throughout the show.

The show offers vignettes of characters in different stages of their life from that strange initial meeting of two young adults to a heartfelt, tender, possible union of two elderly persons after the loss of their spouses. Stewart directed the cast through some intricate set changes and character shifts in the funny two act outing. Audience members enjoyed the skits as evidenced by gentle laughter throughout each skit.

The only weakness I viewed, lay in the fact that the show is an ensemble piece, but two of the six characters did not seem to have as much opportunity to shine as the other four, basically because they were not in extended skits or situations where they could develop a strong character. Still, they took their various characters as far as they could in limited exposure. I especially like the voice of Rachel Adcock, but she only had a chance to really shine in one of her skits. Similarly, James Levy's skits did not allow him to develop a strong character until the last skit of the show where his elderly Jewish widow wins the attention of a down-hearted widow who thinks she will never find true companionship again. The widow was masterfully crafted by MB Hurst. Until that time, she delivered some good acting and characterizations but the brief skits did not allow for full character development. Until the last skit, she was my second favorite, but won me over with the last vignette. And, Hurst displays a beautiful soprano voice through several of the songs.

As for the other female in the show, Sarah Montoya performed strong characters throughout the show. Her signature song, "Always a Bridesmaid" was crisp, humorous, and drew continued laughter. She performed a solo skit about a divorcee making her first video for a video dating service. She went from bitter to whimsical and from sad to content. Her character in the skit comes to terms with her situation and the audience feels her confidence grow as she lets go of her anguish and pain. In other skits, she portrayed strong characters with poise and humor.

As for the two male leads, Kevin Reher caught my attention with the diversity of characters he developed. He presented different looks and subtle changes from skit to skit, by playing subdued characters and using his facial expression and body knowledge of characterization to create the differences as he progressed from skit to skit. He gave a strong overall performance, but only glimpses of his characters stayed with me after the show.

John Cleary gave the show movement and comic relief with his awkward, nervous character in the first scene to his harried dad in the second act who anticipated as rousing sexual tryst with his wife. His body language and physical humor matched with his rubber-faced expressions that kept the audience engaged, laughing, and feeling the emotions he experienced. Funny as he was, many of his characters relied on the same vocal cadence, facial expression, and physical slapstick comedy. Still, his presence was noticed in all skits. The fun of his various characters overshadowed the best and strongest voice in the show. Sadly, Cleary did not have a stand-alone song that tested his vocal chops. But, still, his vocals were the strongest of the cast.

All considered, "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" provides a lot of chuckles and laughs and keeps the audience pleasantly guessing what will happen next. The show, even with a few strong words, is suitable for all audiences. Let's face it, there is no word in this show that an elementary student has not already heard. Yes, there are a few strong words, but they add to the whimsy of the show. Carefully placed vulgarities can inspire humor. In this show, they certainly did.

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