by Uta Buhr
Photos by Stefan Kock
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to a hilarious Off-Broadway show, featuring four highly gifted actors! The best thing: in order to enjoy this outstanding comedy, you do not even have to fly to New York. Just buy ticket and make yourselves comfortable in one of the seats at the English Theatre of Hamburg. After the much talked about classic “The Picture of Dorian Gray” now a musical! Why not? The “regulars” – meaning those who have been loyal to the Mundsburg stage for many, many years – like diversity in the theatre’s choice: start with a drama, go on with a musical or a comedy and end up with a thriller.
By doing so, you attract people who like to go to plays.
Paul Glaser, the director of this revue-like comedy, seems to have a soft spot for minimalistic settings. Just think of the quasi naked stage of his “Dorian Gray.” It worked, as does the lack of décor in his latest play. His four brilliant “Thespians” add enough colour to the performance as they are reciting, singing and dancing on the stage.
The plot conceived by American playwright Joe DiPietro and made into a musical by composer Jimmy Roberts is quite simple. It reflects our daily life and concentrates on the central theme of love and relationship. The scenes of the play in the form of a series of “vignettes” mostly stand independent of each other. The first scene, entitled “Prologue” begins with a “Cantata for a First Date” and shows the four actors – two women and two men – clad like monks in their brownish habits. The cantata reminds us of a Gregorian chant. Gorgeous! The show moves on with a first date, followed by marriage and child-bearing and the bringing-up of the offspring. The same procedure as in every-day life, only accompanied by inspiring songs and dances. One of the most amusing scenes is that of a couple lying in bed when William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the two American “sex instructors”, all of a sudden appear in their bedroom and advise them on sexual practices. Their crude methods even swept over to Europe in the sixties of the last century. The most moving “vignette” is that of a lonely woman who tries to meet a man through a partnership agency. “Video man, please choose me”, she sobs in front of a video camera. “Funerals are for Dating” is equally touching. An elderly man and a woman, people we call “bestagers” today, meet at random in a funeral parlour and find out that they like each other. The last scene is dubbed “Epilogue” and ends with an enthusiastic “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” Curtain.
The audience thanked the actors and the director with a standing ovation.
Also many thanks to James Mironshik the “Man at the Piano”, who tirelessly accompanied the actors during more than two hours. Chapeau!
What a performance! Alexandra Fisher, Alice Redmont, Alex Wadham and Scott Ellis already have a long record of appearances on stage in the Anglo-Saxon world and gained awards in different categories.
And what about the author and the composer of “ I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”? Joe DiPietro is a highly successful American playwright and lyricist, who wrote box-office hits such as “Memphis”, “Clever Little Lies”, “Living Love” and many other plays. Jimmy Roberts, who is a composer and pianist at the same time, counts among the most popular composers of musicals in the United States. “Pets”, “The Thing about Men” as well as “I Sin, I Pray”, are just a few musicals he wrote.
By the way, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” reached altogether 5.003 performances in twelve years at the Off-Broadway Westside Theater
Last performance of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change”, on June 23, 2018
Tickets under the telephone number 040-227 70 89 or online under www.english-theatre.de
Next premiere: “Death Knell”, a thriller by James Cawood, on September 6, 2018