Interview With…Charlotte Westenra

The director chatted to Emma Clarendon about bringing the musical I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change to the Chiswick Playhouse for its UK premiere.

Hi Charlotte, for those not familiar with I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change what is it about? The piece looks at different people at different stages of relationships – from early dating,
anxieties about making the first move, to the struggle of making a relationship work, raising families, finding love after heartbreak and how to live on after losing one’s life partner. At its heart it asks how we can connect. And this story is told through beautifully crafted, moving and
very funny songs by Joe DiPietro (lyrics) and Jimmy Roberts (music).

How did you come across the musical? It has a bit of a cult following. I knew some of the songs before I knew the musical. I’ve long
loved “I Will Be Loved Tonight” and “Stud and a Babe”. Chiswick Playhouse were looking for a piece that could launch their new theatre with and they suggested this to me. It immediately resonated.

What made you want to bring this musical back to the stage and for the first time in the UK? This is a new version of the piece. It was updated in 2018 and performed in New York so I’m thrilled that we’re producing the first UK production of this new version. It has new songs, new
lyrics, gay storylines and internet dating which sets it very much today.
We’ve also based it in the UK. There’s such detail in the writing and acute observation of human nature that we’ve been surprised how comfortably it sits in a British context.

How would you describe the show? An intimate meditation on what it means to fall in love.

What are you most looking forward to about bringing I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change to the stage? The piece demands real creativity from the cast and creative team. It starts at the beginning of
time and moves fluidly between many different locations as we meet over 50 characters. The challenge of bringing this to life demands that we are inventive and theatrical. It needs four extraordinary actors who can rise to this challenge and we have found them in George Rae, Dom Hodson, Laura Johnson and Naomi Slights. Working with them has been a pure delight.

What can we expect from the production? It’s a show that makes you stop and think about what is really important in life and it wears this
message lightly. It has warmth and real heart.

Why would you say overall people should come along and experience this musical? Because this cult musical has been reinterpreted for a 2019 Britain and it stars four completely extraordinary actors.

By Emma Clarendon

I Love You, I Think You’re Perfect, Now Change plays at the Chiswick Playhouse from the 30th October until the 30th November.

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