AISLE SAY San Francisco


Music by Jimmy Roberts
Book by Joe DiPietro
Directed by Joel Bishoff
Presented by James Hammerstein Productions, et al
At Marines Memorial Theatre
609 Sutter St., San Francisco / (877) 771-6900

Reviewed by Judy Richter

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" has been making its way around the country ever since opening off-Broadway in 1996. Now it's entertaining crowds at Marines Memorial Theatre in downtown San Francisco, a perfect location for both locals and tourists.

With a book by Joe DiPietro and music by Jimmy Roberts, this musical revue is based on male-female relations from the first date through long-lasting marriage. With a likable four-person cast accompanied by piano (Kim Douglas Steiner) and violin (Mary Pitchford), the musical skits are amusing and often right-on, judging by the frequent laughs of recognition from the audience. The set and lighting by Neil Jampolis are simple, enhanced by Duncan Edwards' sound design.

Skillfully directed by Joel Bishoff, each person in the cast plays a variety of types and ages, making the changes with a tweak of wardrobe (costumes by Pamela Scofield), wig and demeanor. Pairings also switch, each time to advantage, it seems. Kudos all around to Darrin Baker, Anne Bobby, Jennifer Simard and Daniel Tatar. Some of the more clever scenes include "Cantata for a First Date," when Baker and Bobby portray a couple who meet for their first date, but decide to dispense with those formalities and pretend they're on their second date. Before the evening is over, they're pretending they've broken up and run into each other after six months. Tatar and Simard quickly follow with "A Stud and a Babe," who actually are a geek and a frump trying their best to make conversation and realizing they can rise above appearances. The second act opens with Bobby lamenting, "Always a Bridesmaid" and the ugly dresses she has had to wear.

Although the show has a few weak spots, overall it's thoroughly entertaining with its gentle yet accurate satire, pleasant songs and engaging cast.

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