REVIEW: A 'Perfect' night out

From left, Melanie Bernier, Jodi Mulcahy and Irina Gott in the MMAS production of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change."

MANSFIELD - "I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change" is a hilarious musical revue that takes form in a series of vignettes with the central theme of love and relationships.

From single to dating, marriage to parenthood, and starting over again, the production at MMAS will have you laughing and possibly reminiscing of your own trials and tribulations on the journey to finding the "perfect" mate.

Written by Joe DiPietro and Jimmy Roberts, the quick-witted scenes and musical vignettes are universally appealing when it comes to navigating love and relationships, which is probably why it had one of the longest Off-Broadway runs and has been performed worldwide.

Directed by Ken Butler and Shannon Manley, this lighthearted romp features a talented and versatile ensemble cast of four women and three men (Brendan Auld, Melanie Bernier, Meg Quin Dussault, Irina Gott, Brian Gustafson, Jodi Mulcahy and Bill Roberts.)

Perhaps you will find a particular scene that you will connect with, such as my personal favorite, "Always a Bridesmaid," which drew lots of laughter from the audience last Sunday. Performed by Bernier with boisterous vocals, the scene is particularly hilariousat the top of Act II as the men in the cast join the women and parade out on stage wearing a variety of bridesmaid dresses.

However, I've jumped ahead. "I Love You" begins with Adam and Eve, the choral prologue, and the throes of preparing for the first date with "Cantata for a First Date" followed by Auld and Dussault humorously portraying the busy professional man and woman progressing from going on the first date to breaking up on the first date.

As Act I continues on a fast pace, the scenes move from first impressions and expectations - "A Stud and a Babe," appropriately portrayed by Mulcahy and Gustafson - to the right time for sex and, finally, marriage.

There's great sexual chemistry and unabashed humor between Gustafson and Bernier during "The Lasagna Incident" scene as they decide to take the relationship to the next stage, followed by Bernier's lovely vocals on "I Will be Loved Tonight."

A particularly hysterical scene in Act I, "Satisfaction Guaranteed," features Dussualt as a sex therapist, Roberts as announcer, and Gott and Auld as the "satisfied" couple. This scene is quite humorous and widely appreciated by the audience.

Perhaps the most resonating scenes have to do with the act of waiting. There is waiting for the phone to ring, depicted in one of the last scenes in Act I with sweet vocals by Mulcahy and doo-wop backup from Gott, Gustafson and Auld . There is also waiting for a husband to pull himself away from the football game and, of course, waiting in line for the bathroom, something every female in the audience could relate to. (OK, some of the scenes are stereotypical, but it doesn't matter - it's all funny.)

Act II also brings us into parenthood and one of the funniest scenes is "On the Highway of Love" featuring Gott and Roberts as the parents and Mulcahy and Gustafson as the children on a family road trip. Gustafson is also sweet as he sings in baby talk during "The Baby Song" vignette.

Love changes as we get older, and there are enduring couples as well as messy divorces and death.

Dussualt is outstanding with a very funny monologue in the scene "The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz," which takes on a serious tone in the end.

Two other shining moments from Act II are Roberts singing "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You?" and "Funerals are For Dating" with Gott and Auld as an elderly couple. During their duet, "I Can Live with That," both actors shine and there is a bit of Billy Crystal in Auld's portrayal.

"I love You, Your Perfect, Now Change" strikes a chord with all - men and women, young and old, singles and marrieds. It's a great date night and, by the way, is considered the most proposal-friendly show in history with 57 on-stage entreaties. And it's also great for just getting your gal pals together for a ladies night out on the town.

"I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" is at the MMAS Black Box Theatre through Nov. 7. Performances are Friday, Saturday and Thursday evenings at 8 and Sunday matinees at 2. Not recommended for children under age 16. For tickets call MMAS at 508-339-2822.

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