Audiences get a bit of hometown flavor and lots of big time laughs in John W. Engeman Theater’s production of the off-Broadway hit, “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change,” showing now through Aug. 19.
The witty script and lyrics showcase a dizzying spectrum of relationships as four actors journey through a hilarious series of vignettes that explore the trials and errors of single life, dating, marriage, loss and heartbreak. The show plays up the complexities and absurdities of awkward intimate moments including bad first dates, meeting the parents and family trips.
Huntington-area residents visiting the show will appreciate the local references Director BT McNicholls and Scenic Director Jonathan Collins worked into the set and dialogue, including a scene at Walt Whitman Mall entitled "Waiting," and a mention of Route 25A, Northport’s Main Street.
The minimalist staging is particularly clever as the scenes move quickly from one story line to the next.
Actors Benjamin Eakeley, Howie Michael Smith, Kate Wetherhead, Joanna Young are brilliant together as they take on characters ranging from awkward, geeky young singles, to married couples and even senior citizens. Wetherhead particularly shows captivating vulnerability during a monologue performed in the scene, “The Very First Dating Video of Rose Ritz,” in which her character takes a shot at using a dating service after going through a divorce. The scene is a rare moments of the blues though because the rest of the show has audiences in stiches.
Howie Michael Smith gives a zealous performance with each of his characters, playing a nerd, crazy-for-baby dad and senior citizen with the same level of enthusiasm for each role. Eakeley has the crowd laughing in the scene “Tear Jerk,” in which he folds from a machismo stud into a sensitive, nose-blowing crier during a chick flick. He and Young don’t disappoint in their portrayal of a married couple trying to steal an intimate moment away from their children.
The four actors play off one another seamlessly as their characters mix and match their love interests.
"I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change," will play Wednesdays through Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 3 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 2 and 7 p.m.