While there are refurbishments going on at Cork Opera House, they are providing a welcome but limited service in the Half Moon Theatre. This is a small two-tier venue seating less than a hundred people in a clever mix of cabaret tables and rows of chairs, where you can enjoy a pint, or a glass of wine during the performance.
Cork Musical Theatre Company has just opened there with a brilliant and funny production of the longest running off-Broadway comedy musical, I Love You, You’re perfect, Now Change! Since its 1996 American debut it has travelled far and since a 2005 revival in London, it is in the top three of UK performed musical theatre shows. Topped by Little Shop Of Horrors and second before High School Musical. There are three productions running at the Current Edinburgh Fringe Festival, such is its popularity.
It is being advertise in Cork as – Seinfeld set to music – but the original American blurb describes it much better – Everything you have ever secretly thought about dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives and in-laws, but were afraid to admit.
The Cork production sets the series of sequential vignettes/short scenes in front of a projection screen and three sets of red tabs, with a grand piano and violinist on stage as two male and two females act out clever, acerbic, witty and recognisable aspects of the love/sex/marriage/death in cool snappy dialogue and happy light enjoyable tunes.
It follows a life sequence of first date, Cantata For A First Date, to a touching Funerals Are For Dating. And it’s a romcom of emotions, hopes, desires, disappointments, a little sadness and all in all is a wonderful night out.
You will know lots of the characters, some from your own life, and that is part of the magic. Songs like I Will Show Her/Him How Wonderful I Am, Not Tonight I’m Busy, Tonight I’m Gonna Score, Men Who Talk and Women Who Pretend To Listen, a Stud And A Babe, Single Man Drought, will have you nudging the person nearest you and during its American run people actually proposed to partners at the show.
My favourite songs from the show are, the country style, Only A Bridesmaid, Never A Bride, Sacred Straight; a family driving song with the line – In my home I’m not the boss but on the highway of life… A stunning Shouldn’t I Be Less In Love With You and the ironic, I Can Live With That.
The cast was Carmel-Anne Ryan, who was in Bryan Flynn’s Michael Collins, mark O’Shaughnessy who workshopped Michael Collins and performed at WIFLO with the winning Guys And Dolls, Muireann McSwiney O’Rourke and a fine newcomer, Brian Fenton.
The great news for Garter Lane audiences is that Bowler Hat Theatre Co. will present this show in Waterford in September with a quality cast of Tobie Hickey, Dermot Keyes, Gabrielle Cummins and Vicki Graham. Do not miss it.