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The More ‘Change,’ the Better

TIMES STAFF WRITER

When “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” had its West Coast premiere at the Laguna Playhouse last fall, I called it “one of the most clever, buoyant musical comedy revues about sex, love and dating in years.”

Now that the show is being reprised and I’ve had the chance to see it again--it opened Thursday, with Susan Hoffman returning from the ensemble in that production and Jennifer Simard and Rob Roznowski joining it from the original New York off-Broadway version, along with newcomer Lance Roberts--the opinion stands.

The material is as crisp and fresh and sparkles more. The comic delivery, especially Roznowski’s, gets bigger laughs. And as before, the revue offers a savvy blend of full-bodied sketch comedy and witty songs.

While Jimmy Roberts’ music is not in itself distinctive, the combined effect of Joe DiPietro’s clever lyrics, the cast’s first-class singing and Roberts’ lively arrangements (Diane King Vann on piano and, on opening night, Thi Nguyen on violin) is.

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“I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” consists of two dozen or so romantic and anti-romantic variations with sketch after funny sketch, tightly scripted and well performed. Each of the four players has multiple roles, portraying matched and mismatched lovers or would-be lovers, married couples, never-marrieds or divorcees in different stages of life.

The show’s tone ranges from brightly mocking and satirical to fantastic, sentimental and, for brief moments, serious. Neil Peter Jampolis’ scenic design of old brick and cast-iron suggests a gentrified urban neighborhood of downtown lofts.

As before, director Joel Bishoff keeps the production moving efficiently and with a keen eye for detail. Again the ensemble, though different from before, proves impeccably cast.

* “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” Laguna Playhouse’s Moulton Theater,, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. Tuesday-Sunday, 7:30 p.m.; matinees Saturday and Sunday, 2 p.m. No show today. Ends July 26. $40-$45. (714) 497-2787. Running time: 2 hours, 30 minutes.

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With Jennifer Simard, Susan Hoffman, Lance Roberts and Rob Roznowski

A Laguna Playhouse production of a musical revue by Joe DiPietro (book and lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts (music). Directed by Joel Bishoff. Scenic and lighting design: Neil Peter Jampolis. Costume design: Dwight Richard Odle Musical direction: Diane King Vann. Vocal and instrumental arrangements: Jimmy Roberts. Stage manager: Nancy Staiger.


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