‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’
At the Bridewell Theatre
11th March, 2016
‘And the Lord God said, ‘Let there be light’, and there was light. And the Lord God said, ‘Let There Be Man and Woman’ and there was man and woman. And that night man asked woman if she was busy.’
Here I go again. Musicals are a genre I love to hate, or sometimes hate to love. I had to be in the mood for one and this time I was, since I had heard such praise of the Sedos who claim to be the premier amateur musical theatre group in London- a worthy accolade.
With music by Jimmy Roberts and a book and lyrics by Joe DiPietro, ‘I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change’ is a series of scenes on everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit. Effectively, the musical is a celebration of the mating rituals, of truths and myths in building relationships. The cast have worked creatively to update the script. Admittedly, the material offers nothing particularly original; it largely relies on stereotypes to drive home the point, but it’s good-natured and relatable, genuinely funny in parts and, unexpectedly, touching in others.
The show is normally performed by four people however SEDOS produces it with twelve actors/actresses whose chemistry is spot on. There’s a maturity and sure-footedness from the entire ensemble, and a perfect match of acting skills and powerhouse vocals; the harmonies throughout are glorious too. There are no earworms here, but the instrumental trio provide a subtle aural backdrop to each scene.
Act I explores the journey from dating and waiting to love and marriage whilst Act 2 reveals the agonies and triumphs of in-laws and new-borns, trips in the family car and surprising pick up techniques of the geriatric.
It seems churlish to single out any performer. A few are worthy of highlighting: Laura and Joe The commercial segment entitled ‘Satisfaction Guaranteed’ between Brice, Dan, Fiona and Penny was hysterically over-the-top and featured a laugh-out-loud unexpected twist. The vignette takes the idea of bad sex and turns it upside down with the notion of a law firm that allows for the legal prosecution of your partner if things aren’t exactly ‘climactic’ in bed. Claire Linney has the solo of the night , ‘Always A Bridesmaid’ and delivers it with a sassy, despairing weariness that is superb. Adrian and Joe have a standout comedy scene acting as obsessive parents of a newborn with Matt as their childless friend.
Movement coach, Natalie Demain, provides quirky and fresh choreography and Emma Leaver’s direction ensures that there is plenty of interest, and the pace is maintained with simple but convincing scene and mood changes, sweeping the audience from cynical hilarity to nostalgic melancholy and on to old-fashioned laughter.
Company Background taken from the Sedos website
The Society was founded in 1905 by a group of senior members of the Stock Exchange led by Charles Dickinson and Cyril Bathurst who formed the Dramatic and Operatic Society. Their principal aims were twofold:
• To take advantage of the great variety of stage talent they saw scattered around the house, and:
• To use what was no doubt an actual extension of the virtuoso talent employed by the members on the trading floor at the time to raise funds for charity.
With the exception of brief intermissions during the two World Wars, since then the Society has presented musical and dramatic productions of all kinds and in so doing raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for a variety of charities. At its height the Society mounted four large-scale productions each year at the Scala Theatre attended by members of the Royal family and employed a full-time general secretary.