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I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change



  It's obviously not the biblical account that has Adam and Eve, once expelled from Eden, gallivanting in a musical comedy version of The Dating Game, playing out myriad cliches about modern romance. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, recently on the boards at The Actor's Theatre of New Orleans, starts with an ironic cantata about God's creation of man and woman, who quickly adapt attitudes more typical of a contemporary singles scene.

  "Are you busy?" Adam asks.

  "I'll have to check," Eve says.

  This anachronistic exchange sets the tone for the entire show, in which some of the goofiness works and some cloys. After the fall, the four set off on a jokey trek through the trials and tribulations of modern courtship and marriage. The men and women dress in designer clothes and scents and lug around their emotional baggage. A nerdy boy longs to be a "macho stud," and a nerdy girl longs to be a "babe." Unfortunately, her voice is whiny and his biceps are tiny. The guy croons, "My bath is crusting/My kitchen is disgusting/ I'm a guy!"

  I Love You is not a play. Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts penned the musical divertimento, which ran for more than 5,000 performances off-Broadway. It's a series of comic skits, punctuated by 19 comic songs, and sentimentality raises its teary-eyed face from time to time. Although the skits are unified by a theme, there's no narrative. The sampler approach eventually weighs heavily on the show.

  The cast of four on a barren stage performed with gusto and clearly enjoyed working together. They all played many roles and were identified only as Woman No.1 (Michaela "Miki" Byrne), Woman No. 2 (Gina Abromson), Man No. 1 (Andrew Antoine) and Man No. 2 (Jason George). They often delighted the audience with their shenanigans. Larry Seiberth's piano accompaniment was taped, but under Gina Abromson's musical direction, the performers sang with zeal in solos and harmonized effectively.

  I Love You was generally well-directed by Chelle Ambrose and well-performed, but like any relationship, it had its lulls. — Dalt Wonk

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