By R.C. Christian
The Dillard Playhouse’s latest musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change features a series of vignettes that dissects the stages of romantic relationships. While the characters change in every scene, the show takes the audience through a story arc featuring the challenges of a first date, marriage, children, and the pain faced at the end of lifelong relationships.
This hilarious, fast-paced show features comic interaction between the players, heartrending glimpses into the characters’ souls, and fun, toe-tapping music. It will have you laughing at its silliness, nodding in recognition of the stories related, and becoming teary over its depth, making it a wonderful next chapter for the North Georgia Community Players.
I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, with book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, is the second-longest running Off-Broadway musical ever, running for almost 12 years and over 5,000 shows.
While this musical is typically done with two women and two men, Director Rebecca Bilbrey’s smart decision to feature four women and three men added diversity and depth to the cast, helping bring the show to life. Quashona Antoine, Lucy Barry, Rebecca Wilcox Bilbrey, and Nicole Rabel portray the female characters, while Matthew Jay Cambell, Don Nielsen, and Mathias Sanchez take on the male roles.
The show requires the cast to be outstanding actors and singers with high energy throughout the performance. An additional challenge is to be one character in one scene, then do a quick costume transformation and reappear as an entirely different character with a distinctly different stage presence.
This cast of talented actors could hardly have been more in sync and were not afraid to have fun onstage. It was clear that the director, as well as the performers, had a strong grasp on the comedy required to successfully put on this musical. While most of the show is comedic, there are also heartfelt numbers, especially in the second act. Each performer was individually engaging and, as an ensemble, they were wildly entertaining. I believe the most impressive part of this show was just how well the cast worked together to tell the varying narratives.
Director Rebecca Bilbrey and Music Director Quashona Antoine brilliantly matched the performers with their roles, allowing each actor to take the spotlight during feature scenes while easily meshing with other cast members in the larger numbers. Overall, this production was extremely well done.
Judging from the reaction across the nearly sold out Dillard Playhouse on Sunday, both the subject matter and the performance hit home. The constant laughter that filled the theater was accompanied by whispered outpourings of recognition by the audience and more than a few tears.
It is difficult to single out a given number in this production as this was an all-hands effort on the part of the entire company both onstage and behind it. The bar was set high by the opening “Prologue” number performed by the ensemble, and each of the performers consistently cleared that bar throughout the show. Highlights for this reviewer included “Single Man Drought,” “Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You?” and the “Funerals Are For Dating” scene.
Everyone involved with the Dillard Playhouse and the North Georgia Community Players should be immensely proud of this achievement.
I would recommend this show for adults, as the content can wade into more mature waters at times.
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours with one 15-minute intermission.
Advisory: This show contains sexual situations, dialogue, and mature language. Recommended for 16+.
“I Love, You’re Perfect, Now Change” is currently playing at the Dillard Playhouse through Sunday, February 12th. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit the North Georgia Community Players’ website at www.ngcommunityplayers.com.