Review: Garland Civic Theatre's I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is charming and full of laughs!

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change 

By Joe DiPietro
Directed by Andi Allen
Produced by Garland Civic Theatre

Reviewed by Carol M. Rice

They say that love is the universal language, but they also say men are from Mars and women are from Venus. Who’s right? They both are! This conundrum is made abundantly clear in the clever vignette musical, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change presented by Garland Civic Theatre, running through February 11. Filled with both laugh-out-loud funny and beautifully touching sketches and songs, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is the perfect musical for this time of year.

Director Andi Allen has put together a powerhouse ensemble cast playing a multitude of unique characters, all dealing with various aspects of love. Act I looks at the perils of finding a mate, while Act II examines marriage and all it has to offer. 

Christian Black as Man 1 (although his musical numbers are incorrectly listed as Man 2 in the program) plays everything from a monster truck enthusiast to a doting new father to a long-married man still in love with his wife and more. Black makes this all happen seamlessly, sliding easily from character to character both vocally and acting-wise. His solo “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You?” gave me chills. He is a ton of fun to watch!

Brooke Mathews as Woman 1 also effortlessly jumps from character to character. While her singing voice was exceptional, her monologue as “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz” was absolutely phenomenal. She gives an amazing performance throughout.

While Kenneth O’Reilly’s Man 2 may not be as flashy as Man 1, he provides the audience with just as many distinctive characters and excellent vocals. My personal favorite was in “Funerals are for Dating.”

Andrea Fernandez-Tom as Woman 2 also plays a gamut of personalities in this show and does so with ease. Her vocal range and style were probably the most varied, as she sings everything from the style of country to a clear legitimate soprano. Her “Always a Bridesmaid” was an excellent showcase of her vocal and comedy chops.

With a four-person cast, if anyone doesn’t shine, they’re going to stick out, but these four amazing singer/actors are a true, solid acting and vocal ensemble. Kudos to Music Director Kelley Poché Rodriguez (and the cast, of course) for some of the best vocals I’ve heard in a while.

The set, designed by Wendy Searcy, is like one big Valentine, beautifully lit by Josh Hensley. Jessie Wallace’s simple costumes make it possible for the actors to change one little thing to help them become a new character. The equally simple props by Rebekka Koepke and Lynn Mauldin are effective and help keep the action moving.

I vaguely remember seeing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change many years ago (my research has shown the first production was in 1996), and I understand that this is the updated version. Don’t come in expecting a plot, as this is a show with short scenes and cabaret style musical numbers, but do come in expecting to enjoy yourself thoroughly! You can even plan an early date for Valentine’s Day (or Single Awareness Day, if that’s your preference). Just don’t miss it!

There’s NOTHING like live theatre!

Carol M. Rice

Audience Rating: PG-13

Running Time: about 2: 15 with intermission

Accessible Seating: Available

Hearing Devices: Not Available 

Sensory-friendly Showing: Not Available 

ASL Showing: Not Available 

Production Sound Level: Comfortable