Arts Review Theatre

★★★★☆ Review: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Sing’theatre

Comedic musical sketches illustrating the entire cycle of love.

CategoryScore (out of 10)
Direction (TJ Taylor)8
Book and Lyrics (Joe DiPietro)8
Music Composition (Jimmy Roberts)8
Performance (Andrew Marko, Benjamin Chow, Misha Paule Tan, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai)8
Music Performance (Elaine Chan, Han Oh)8
Set Design (Wong Chee Wai)8
Costume Coordination (Theresa Chan)8
Lighting Design (Tai Zi Feng)8
Sound Design (Shah Tahir)8
Total72/90 (80%)
Final Score:★★★★☆

If there’s one of the greatest unsolved mysteries on the planet, it’s the mystery of love. Multi-faceted, ever-changing, and almost always surprising in the forms it takes, love remains a subject that continues to fascinate the human race, as we sing songs, make movies, and watch plays that try to get to the heart of what exactly makes the heart tick.

And while that seems like a gargantuan task, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change attempts to do that in the form of a sketch musical, taking audience members through the entire cycle of love, from dating to marriage to loss. Written by Joe DiPietro, with music by Jimmy Roberts, the musical is also a challenging one for any director to stage, often featuring just 4 cast members to play 56 different characters and perform 22 songs.

Taking on that challenge for Sing’theatre is director TJ Taylor, who leads cast members Andrew Marko, Benjamin Chow, Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai and Misha Paule Tan to perform this show. Even though the scenes overall do follow a chronological cycle, from young love to the woes of married life, the sketch-like style of I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is rare for a musical, where there are no links between any storylines and no recurring characters, making it difficult to emotionally invest in most of the scenes.

In that sense, one would treat I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change more as a revue than a typical, narratively-driven musical, and relies on the collective strength and relatability of each individual sketch to succeed. To that end, it succeeds, as what it lacks in cohesion is made up for in variety and wit, with audience members of all ages and stages of life likely to find strong resonance with at least one or more segments of the musical. Youths for example, are likely to feel the cringe that comes with a bad date you can’t escape (‘Single Man Drought’), while parents can similarly feel the loss of freedom when chauffeuring young children around in a car (‘On The Highway of Love’).

In terms of direction, TJ brings out a strong element of play, as he experiments and clearly has fun with the various configurations of characters and their movements onstage. Almost every scene is unique in its mood and atmosphere, similarly matching the medley of song genres covered, with musicians Elaine Chan (Music Director/piano) and Han Oh (violin) always on cue. One particularly outstanding scene sees Benjamin and Sangeetha as a married couple, finally finding time for some lovemaking after being exhausted by their children and daily chores. As the title implies, ‘Marriage Tango’ pokes fun at the traditionally sultry dance style, and constantly interrupts it with new tasks that vie for the couple’s attention. Even as they hilariously struggle to sex things up, the choreography and movement remains smooth, confident, and well-executed. TJ has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve in each sketch, in terms of emotion, mood and energy, and his cast capably delivers on that vision.

Benjamin Chow is a natural across his roles, encapsulating a range of personalities, from a douchey cryptobro in ‘Why? ‘Cause I’m a Guy’, to a nervous lover in ‘Cantata for a First Date’. Andrew Marko is given roles that allow his naturally naive-looking face to be played for innocent laughter, often seeming like a young man trying to make sense of this world of adult responsibilities and grown-up behaviour. This serves especially well in ‘Baby Song’, where he goes from a father spouting inane baby talk, to capitalising on his ability to rap and spit verses, much to our delight.

Rebekah Sangeetha Dorai is a chameleon, and fully feels like she’s adopted a different persona and accent in every role, whether a frustrated lover in ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’, or her highlight of the night – a drunk bridesmaid with the country-inspired number ‘Always A Bridesmaid’, complete with leather boots. Finally, while Misha Paule Tan has the least stage experience among the cast, she shows some potential with her earnestness and character work, from a mousey, awkward girl in ‘Stud and a Babe’, to a blushing bride in ‘Wedding Vows’.

Wong Chee Wai’s relatively simple set comprises a series of lighted pillars, with shelves displaying tokens of love, from stuffed animals, to a miniature jukebox, to even an Everyone Is Awesome Lego set. Just like the play itself, the set has enough elements and references that most audience members should be able to recognise at least one item they themselves have in their own home. Tai Zi Feng’s lighting design on the other hand, is a relatively complex affair in comparison, with what feel like unique lighting cues for each scene. Just the simple choice of red bathes primes the stage for a passionate love scene, while well-placed and well-timed spotlights ensure that even within a group, the performer singing at any one point of time is the centre of attention.

And if there’s one person that needs mentioning, it’s costume coordinator Theresa Chan, and all those assisting with the costume changes onstage. Every character adopts almost an entirely different set of clothes in each scene, and requires quick changes both backstage and onstage, and it is downright impressive seeing characters go from simple dress to wedding gown within a short span of time.

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is a lively, playful musical that makes for a fun night out at the theatre. There are peaks and valleys to this performance, with the occasional sobering truth that love isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, amidst the otherwise humorous sketches, both tugging at your heartstrings and tickling your funny bone. You’ll likely leave the theatre with a smile on your face, feeling represented and recognised onstage, and leave a little more reassured that you’re not the only one struggling in love.

Photo Credit: Sing’theatre

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change plays from 19th to 30th April 2023 at Alliance Française Theatre. Tickets available from SISTIC

1 comment on “★★★★☆ Review: I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change by Sing’theatre

  1. Pingback: Preview: RENT by Sing’theatre Academy – Bakchormeeboy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: