Quest Theatre Ensemble presents I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE Review: The Ups and Downs of Love

(clockwise from top left) Christian Aldridge, Alys Dickerson, Liz Jarmer, and Gavin Donnellan Rob Karlic

Woman 1

And the Lord God said, "Let there be light." And there was light.

 Man 1

And the Lord God said, "Let there be man and woman."

 Woman 2

And there was man and woman

 Man 2

That night man asked woman if she was busy

 Woman 2

And woman said, "Thank you, she'd have to check. (Prologue/Cantata for a First DateI Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change)

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change

 With book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change is comprised of 19 scenes covering the various aspects of love – from what to wear on the first date, to the ups and downs of marriage, and finally what happens when your spouse passes.

The musical is infused with comedy, and the jokes exploring how to tell if a tinder date is the right fit, or how to help a significant other take the next step in the relationship keep the audience laughing. The comedy helps the relatability, and with the wide range of topics and relationship milestones covered in the script, there is something for everyone. Most audience members can likely find at least one aspect that mind remind them of their own experiences in love – both the good, and the bad. Better than that, an audience member may even be able to look back and laugh.

The comedy is certainly well-written, with relationships that explore a range of situations and emotions – from the joyous to the sad. One of the strongest pieces of this particular production is in Scene 6 of Act II, and entitled “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love with You,” featuring Christian Davis Aldridge. The story follows a man who has been married to his wife for 30 years, and as she falls asleep, he begins to sing about how despite the fights and conflicts, he is still completely in love with her, and is thankful for every minute. While the comedy helps the audience laugh about the hardships of love, this piece explores the sweeter moments. Aldridge’s stage presence is spot-on, and he creates a lovely moment to compliment the comedic scenes that come before and after.

(Left to right) Gavin Donnellan and Christian Aldridge. Rob Karlic

Quest Theatre Ensemble’s Production: The Design

 Helmed by Director Laura Sturm, the artistic team utilizes an abstract aesthetic to transform the intimate space of the Blue Theater into the various locations of the piece – from a restaurant bar to a bedroom, and even a tennis court.

Quest Theatre Ensemble I LOVE YOU YOU'RE PERFECT NOW CHANGE
(left to right from bottom left) Liz Jarmer, Gavin Donnellan, Alys Dickerson, and Christian Aldridge Rob Karlic

The scenic design is minimalistic, but showcases some clever choices. Scene 4 of Act II entitled “The Family that Drives Together,” for example, features the number, “On the Highway of Love.” The scene follows an amusing tale of a man (Christian Davis Aldridge) who loves his car, and despises when his wife and two kids intrude on that peace through fighting and backseat driving. Set Designer Shea Messinger creates a car through the use of four rolling chairs, which the actors hold together as they move about the space.

At one point in the song, when the man is particularly tired of his family’s conflicts and he dreams of escape, the chairs separate, and the four actors spread about the space. Sturm and Messinger’s collaboration creates for a fun and creative way of using the space, and creating the image of a car that also represents the themes in the story.

The Ensemble

The musical features four actors who play multiple roles – Christian Davis Aldridge, Gavin Donnellan, Liz Jarmer, and Alys Dickerson. The ensemble as a whole presents nice chemistry, and work together to create bring this fun musical to life.

The musical presents a challenge in requiring each actor to play a large number of roles that cover a wide range of emotions and storylines. Each actor in Quest Theatre Ensemble’s production showcases some lovely strengths that add to the overall production – particularly in vocal talents. Jarmer’s vibrato is beautiful, and if the audience applause is any indication, made her solo, “I Will Be Loved Tonight” a highpoint for many of the viewers that evening. Aldridge’s baritone is just as lovely, and the emotion he infuses into his solos push them over the top.

Donnellan’s comedic timing is spot-on, particularly in “We Had it All,” one of his duets with Dickerson. The song features two characters who meet on tinder, and discuss the pros and cons of entering a dating relationship. As they discuss the possibilities of fights, sex, break ups, and even marriage, the worst-possible case scenarios unfold in their fantasies. These performers keep the audience laughing throughout the number, and their ability to play off each other makes for a fun scene to watch unfold.

In addition to the comedy, Dickerson brings a heartbreaking quality to some of her more serious scenes, such as “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz.” The storyline of this scene follows Rose who is recently divorced, and shares her fears of entering the dating scene only to get hurt again. Dickerson showcases a sense of honesty in this scene that is highly sympathetic, and creates a very real story to accompany the humorous scenarios that follow.

(left to right) Alys Dickerson, Gavin Donnellan, Liz Jarmer, and Christian Aldridge. Rob Karlic.
(left to right) Liz Jarmer and Alys Dickerson Rob Karlic

In short, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change makes for the perfect date night event.

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Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read — Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.

Note: An excerpt of this appears in Theatre in Chicago. 

When:

Through October 29, 2017

Fridays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 8:00pm
Sundays at 2:00pm

Run Time: 2 hours, with intermission

Where:

The Blue Theater

1609 W. Gregory Street

Chicago, IL 60640

 

Tickets:

Free

For more information on tickets, visit the Quest Theatre Ensemble website.

 

 

Photos:  

Rob Karlic

 

 

lauren-katz

About the Author: 

Lauren Katz is a freelance director and dramaturge, and new to the Chicago Theatre Scene. She recently moved from Washington DC, where she worked with Mosaic Theater Company of DC in Company Management, as well as directed around town with various theaters. 

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