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I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change
Published on Tuesday, 25 August 2009

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is perhaps one of the most oft-performed musicals on the Fringe. There are even two independent productions of it this year! It's not that hard to see why; as a series of musical sketches about falling in love and everything that follows, performing groups can simply choose the scenes they want, cut the others to fit the hour-long slot - and still have something which all makes sense.

The version I went to see was presented by the Exeter University Footlights, in their début on the Fringe. As is seemingly necessary in all musical productions this year, all the dialogue was delivered with varyingly successful American accents - and this goes down as yet another show on my “Is your accent really necessary?” list. Still, I've heard far worse on the Fringe; and Alice Coulson, in particular, got a lot of mileage from switching between a nasally New York twang to a full blown soprano voice in her songs.

Special mention has to go to Jenny Scourfield, who possesses one of the most unique singing voices I've heard this Festival season. Rich and soulful, it penetrates the soundscape during the choruses, and to my mind she stole the show with her solo rendition of Always a Bridesmaid. Sadly, another trend spreading amongst musicals this year is the weaker male vocals, and I Love You... is no different - with the three female cast members all much stronger singers than their male counterparts.

But while the singing is of variable quality, the acting is universally top-notch. It was only in the final scenes, the more serious episodes on love and relationships, that I realised just how good the cast are. They all have good comedic timing and grasp of physical comedy, but I preferred the heavier, more thought-provoking material in the second half - which allowed them to truly demonstrate more of their acting skills. The scene titled The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz was especially memorable, with Amy Kinsella giving an excellent performance both on stage and film.

The cast and musicians (here's a small mention to the backing of a violinist and pianist, amazingly the first time I've seen a violin on the Fringe this year) worked well together, and though it lacked that extra sparkle to make it a truly outstanding production, the guys and girls from Exeter University have done themselves proud. I look forward to their return to the Fringe next year.

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