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Don't change a thing

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Don't change a thing photo courtesy Penobscot Theatre Company
I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' at PTC

BANGOR Love matters.

Once we grow past the 'girls/boys are icky' stage, love is one of our primary fixations as humans. It's one of the few journeys in life that every one of us has embarked upon. Love is a battlefield; engaging in that battle of the sexes can be scary, sure, but it's also one of the most meaningful parts of our lives.

'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change,' a musical written by Jimmy Roberts and Joe DiPietro, is the sort of show that springs up as a response to the humor and heartbreak of romance not to mention the absurdity of love. Penobscot Theatre is producing the show through June 17 at the Bangor Opera House.

The show consists of a series of musical vignettes, songs and sketches that all share the same basic focal point love. Moments all along love's timeline are explored. There's a look at the complicated world of dating both early on and late in life. Couples are drawn close by passion, only to slowly cool due to familiarity. There are beginnings and endings and everything in between. The wins and losses pile up, but through it all love. 'ILYYPNC' manages to make a stop at all of love's various checkpoints, illustrating truths that are sweet and poignant.

And extremely funny.

Sporting only a cast of four, this show is particularly reliant on the talents of its cast. The two men and two women who play these roles need to fill the room with their energy; without their nimble charms, the overall conceit simply won't work. This cast - consisting of Brianne Beck, Ben Layman, Christie Robinson and Dominick Varney proves more than able. The easy interplay between the four of them is a joy to watch onstage. The level of comfort is such that it lends another layer of intimacy never a bad thing in a show about love. They are so sincere and welcoming that the audience feels invited in.

The laughs are abundant and the songs are lovely. Each individual cast member has his or her moment to shine and shine they do. The quality of their voices is matched only by their comedic talents. Of course, it doesn't hurt that they look like they're having a heck of a lot of fun. Their joy is infectious.

The danger with a show like this one is that it might get swallowed up on a large stage. Director and choreographer Nathan Halverson brought a broad brassiness to the show that filled the Opera House while still maintaining the show's intimacy. Scenic designer Erik Diaz has created a retro game-show set think 'The Dating Game' meets 'Let's Make A Deal' that serves as a wonderful backdrop for the game of love. Daniel Brunk's lights and Anna-Marlies Hunter's costumes build on that playful nostalgia and serve to complete the scene.

The show has its flaws for sure a few of the sketches feel forced and the script is starting to show its age a bit. Still, this production largely overcomes those flaws. You'll leave the theater thinking about a funny moment or humming a bit of your favorite song and you'll definitely be thinking about love.

'I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change' might not be perfect, but as far as this production with this cast and crew in this place?

I wouldn't change a thing.


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