Dysfunctional Humor Reigns in Little Theatre Group Musical

April 30, 2010

Wearing a heinous robe, duck slippers and pink curlers in her hair, a woman (María Jesús Castillo) receives a phone call. It’s a man, and he’s inquiring about a second date. The woman, excited about the call, bursts into song. A choir of two pizza deliverymen and the woman’s mother sing backup.

The colorful and over-the-top set pieces, costumes and songs of the Little Theatre Group production of “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” all highlight the same theme. Searching for love is always wild, always unpredictable.

The musical comedy written by Joe DiPietro and directed by Sally O’Boyle runs through this weekend at the LaurenceOliverTheater in San José. The cast of Cliff Robison, Kathryn Smith, Ricardo Jiménez and Castillo take the audience through an often funny series of vignettes, all tied together by the pursuit of love.

The opening skit stages two busy, busy businesspeople on a first date. The last one shows two widowed retirees finding love at a funeral. The rest of the sketches center on everything in between: breakups, weddings, having children and divorce.

Jiménez, in particular, shows off his comedic skills. He’s great in roles ranging from an engineering nerd on a first date to a “tough guy” who breaks down at a chick flick.

In one of the best skits, Jiménez and Castillo star as two irritating parents obsessed with their newborn child.

This dysfunctional humor reigns throughout the play. Robison intimidates as a guest speaker/inmate at a dating event called “Scared Straight to the Altar.” Smith has a humorous, poignant monologue as a divorcee making a dating video after her husband left her for a “limping grandmother.”

The only time color disappears from the stage is in two sequences bookending the vignettes. In these scenes, four figures in black robes explain the play’s title and theme: “Go find someone you love, and spend the rest of your life trying to change them.”

Remaining performances at the Laurence Olivier Theater on Avenida 2, Calle 28 (next to Sala Garbo), are tonight and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m. For reservations, including dinner-theater options, visit www.littletheatregroup.org or call 8858-1446.

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