Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Show of Smiles

John Thayer, singing. Behind him, Rachel Davis.

The show running at The Coach House this weekend took me by surprise. I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change, is a piece I was not familiar with (although I had heard the title--who could forget that?), and I'd never seen Kingston's Coach House Players in a musical. I had befriended the multitalented Rachel Davis, and she urged me to see the group's Variety Show fundraiser, but I missed it. I had seen (and reviewed here) two plays done by the group. One was a British farce-mystery and the other an old-fashioned romantic comedy about an aging couple.

I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change is a different animal. A fast-paced musical review, pulled together by the thread of the old man/woman/love/marriage thing, it has much going for it. The Coach House Players squeezed every drop of comedy, charm, and even pathos out of the script and left the audience wanting more. The cast of talented actors and singers was matched perfectly to the material, and director Edward Kleinke kept up the pace and didn't miss a nuance in the script. As Musical Director, Rachel had the difficult job of coordinating and managing many tasks, and her efforts were seamlessly woven into the show.

The show featured interesting songs and excellent singers. There was a funny monologue that just about tore my heart out by Anna Susan Miressi; a beautiful love song quietly rendered by John Thayer, who has kind of a Jimmy Stewart quality onstage, and solid turns by everyone throughout. There were no glitches or missteps that I could see in this tightly crafted production.

I wish I could single out one performance from the show as outstanding, but in an ensemble group like this it would not only be hard to do, it would miss the point of the production in which every player was in top form. I wanted to have a picture to head my write-up, so I found an old one on Rachel's Facebook page (above) of John Thayer--who sings one of the show's best songs--in another production, with her looking on. The photo captures the spirit of the group itself.

Because of similar themes, I guess, but with a more upbeat attitude, I Love You, You're Perfect, put me in mind of another, albeit darker, show from years past that I know well and think of often. I hope I can be forgiven--I found myself singing the score from Company as I drove home.

The show opened Friday before last, and the run will be capped off at 2 P.M. this afternoon. The Coach house is at 12 Augusta Street in Kingston. There is still time to get a seat, but it would be wise to call in advance (845 331-2476) for a reservation because they've been selling out--and the word of mouth on this one is powerful!

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