Love changes everything for cast

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The nine actors cavorting through the Dorset Players' production of "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" send well-aimed arrows zinging to the audience's hearts on all the permutations of modern love.

Director Suzi Dorgeloh promises in her introduction to this this fast-paced revue that "There is something for everyone. You'll see yourself in this show!"

She's true to her word by dint of her well-layered direction with a fluid ensemble cast. Joe DiPietro's book and lyrics and Jimmy Roberts' music plumb every clich about modern urban love with wit and vigor, and you have to laugh even when your heart is breaking in resonance. The actors have a terrific range of vocal dexterity and relish the variety of roles they slalom in and out of with bedroom farce facility.

There are 21 musical numbers in two acts, taking the audience through the arc of the modern relationship. "Busy, Busy, Busy" explores courtship's condensed nuances, leading to "Wedding Vows," cycling from the wedding's radiant ecstasy to the gut-curdling fears of long-term commitment's unknowns. "The Baby Song's" hilarious obsession and regression of first-time parents drops us into divorce's black maw of painful humiliation and courageous comeback when Rose Ritz makes her "Very First Dating Video." Love is ultimately the mystery that lasts and endures in spite of ourselves in "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You," and when it's so good the first time around, the chase is on in "I Can Live With That."

Lillian Kelly and Christopher Restino each have a gift for the devil in the details of physical comedy in "A Stud and a Babe." A tug to the trousers, a hitch to the bodice, raking fingers through hair, and they make the transformations we've all got memories of wanting to morph into on dates. Lillian's voice gets great play as well in "I Will Be Loved Tonight," soaring in poignancy and longing.

Dana Haley has a true cameo to enjoy her abundant vocal range with in "Always a Bridesmaid." Richard Grip is as light on his feet as his voice is resonant and expressive. Laura King runs a gamut of ages and sensibilities, her presence deep and true even when her part is mostly silent. Drew Hill's comedic gifts came out from behind the scenes as he deliriously scats his way through "The Baby Song." Antonio Giamati gives us one of the most hilariously boring dates ever as well as blatant horror at how sleep deprivation and fatherhood has changed his best friend. Kevin O'Toole's scenes cascade through our heartstrings in "Shouldn't I Be Less In Love With You" and "I Can Live With That." He inhabits his characters with devotion, accuracy, and tenderness. Joey Blane is a shapeshifter with a plummy, elastic voice. Your eyes will follow her every move, and every vocal note places true and clear.

Gary Schmidt on piano and Francois Secordel on violin were magical presences that seemed suspended above the action as they played with effervescent, generous vibrancy. Erika Schmidt's vivacious choreography defined each scene from the subtle to the risqu . Cherie Thompson's costumes delivered maximum effect with a minimum of fuss.

Come and look into the mirror of love with this show. Maybe you'll be surprised at who looks back!

The presenting sponsor is Mettowee Mill Nursery and the show is also sponsored by Errol Hill Painting, Haskins Gas Service, Manchester Carpet Care, The Northshire Bookstore, Spivey Lemonik Swenor PC, and Up For Breakfast. Performances are Friday and Saturday, May 26-27 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 28 at 2 p.m. The box office is open on performance dates two hours before curtain. Tickets are available online at www.dorsetplayers.org or by calling 802-867-5777 or 867-5570.

Claire North lives in Manchester.

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