A Valentine’s Treat at Players Club Of Swarthmore

by Kelly Thunstrom

Teddie Psitos and Tom Halley (both from Wallingford) in I LOVE YOU, YOU'RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE at The Players Club of Swarthmore.

If you were lucky enough to catch I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE on its second night, you were in for a Valentine’s treat! On a blustery cold, snowy, icy Saturday night, Players Club of Swarthmore’s production offered the perfect holiday date activity and a way to warm your heart. I saw many couples in the audience exchanging “knowing” glances as they watched this show, because, friends…this is real life on stage.

Directed by Bohdan Senkow, this version of the long-running Off-Broadway musical stars Art Bookout, Donna Doughterty, Tom Halley, Victoria Healy, Theodora K. Psitos, and Robert Welch. Joe DiPietro’s script has no real plot to speak of (or even named characters), as it features an unrelated series of scenes and songs. Act One deals primarily with the “nightmares” of the dating world and Act Two about marriage and family. Even though there are just six performers, they play numerous characters and have many costume changes. I got a kick out of seeing Victoria Healy married to Art Bookout in “Waiting”, and then in the very next scene, married to Tom Halley in “Shouldn’t I Be Less in Love With You?”

I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is only as good as its actors, and these six are stellar. Not all of the scenes are as well written as others, but these performers make up for those that are less than perfect. What struck me the most was how natural they all are in every scene, particularly Psitos in “The Very First Dating Video of Rose” and Healy in “I’ll Call You Soon”. All six have a wonderful comedic knack and superb timing. Psitos and Dougherty drip with sarcasm in “Men Who Talk and Women Who Pretend They’re Listening”. Dougherty is a gem in every scene she’s in, especially “And Now the Parents” and “Always a Bridesmaid”.

Not to be outdone, the men are just as natural. Halley had me roaring as the lawyer in “Satisfaction Guaranteed” and Bookout’s comedic talents come through well in the very-applicable-to-real-life “Tear Jerk” (“Terms of Endearment” vs. “The Terminator” anyone?). Welch, to me, has the hardest job of the six, going through so many different roles that I don’t know how his head isn’t spinning. You try playing a mass murderer from Attica in one scene and then playing a church choir singer in the next!

Audiences tend to like when they can relate to what they’re seeing on stage. They might not be able to identify with everything, but they certainly can with something. Everyone has had those moments where they’re waiting by the phone (“He said he’d call today!”) or wearing the most hideous bridesmaid dress imaginable (“Oh, yeah, I’ll wear it again!”). I LOVE YOU, YOU’RE PERFECT, NOW CHANGE is a lovely Valentine’s Day gift from PCS. Just don’t look for this one to come wrapped up in a little blue box. Real life is too messy for that.

Book and Lyrics by Joe DiPietro
Music by Jimmy Roberts
Directed by Bohdan Senkow
February 10-25, 2012
Players Club of Swarthmore
614 Fairview Road
Swarthmore, PA 19081

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