Pros: Good performances from main actors and music with well-thought out lyrics.
Cons: Some technical issues at the start and a few awkward scene transitions.
I Love You Because is a musical and modern twist on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and is about the trials of love in modern life. It is full of jokes, great musical numbers and even though it has a small cast, the show never seems to fall flat.
The story really starts off with a meeting, through a dating website, at a bar between the four main characters. Diana (played by Rachel Wrighte) is looking for a fling and encourages her friend, Marcy (Vitalyia Harbord) to come along with her. Jeff (Daniel Roberts) comes along with his friend, Austin (Jamie Jones) in an attempt to help him get over his ex-girlfriend. Diana and the humorous character of Jeff hit it off straight away, while Marcy and Austin hit the rocks when Austin starts talking about his ‘amazing’ ex-girlfriend. Throughout the story, they argue a lot but despite their faults and doubts they fall in love. The wild impulsive spirit of Marcy meets its opposite of Austin and his planned out ways, to create a contrast so great that it works.
The whole theme of the story is how we shouldn’t just look at the perfect ideals of people but should love the faults as well. It also shows how taking risks can pay off, even if there are some doubts with the decisions, which can be surprisingly thought provoking. The morals of understanding and acceptance look at how love can be difficult, but can be great because of it.
The main four cast members do a great job of bringing out the humour in this show. Especially the character of Jeff, my personal favorite, who is portrayed extremely well by Daniel Roberts as he brings a hilarious character to light and never fails to make a scene more memorable. As an ensemble, complete with the supporting roles (James Rowney, Abbie Mead and Alfie Kentesber) they sound superb singing songs such as ‘Another Saturday night in New York‘ and the finale of ‘I Love You Because‘ which work well, as they both open and tie up the show. The other songs all sound great, though some stood out more than others and are stronger in their performance. Some favorites were ‘Coffee‘ which is the first song Marcy and Austin sign together and ‘But I do‘ which is all together more sad, and a pivotal moment for Diana and Jeff.
The set itself is very simple, with a few tables, a couch and telephone, amongst other smaller props. It works though, as there is a greater emphasis on the overall acting and script, which works to make it a good romantic play without the need for an extravagant set up. The transitions between scenes are awkward at times though; There were moments where props were bought on stage during a scene, making it quite distracting for the audience to focus on the actual show.
The venue itself is intimate but provides enough space to accommodate both the audience and actors. Everything can be clearly seen and the sound is audible wherever you are seated. It is cosy and situated above a bar, so it has easy access to food and drinks if needed. Everyone is welcoming and there is a friendly atmosphere that provides for a pleasant evening.
Overall, the time and effort put into making this happen can be clearly seen, everyone knew their role and acted well. Even with some technical difficulties at the beginning, no one was distracted and kept to the script without hesitation, so the small issues really didn’t deter the play from being what it is: an excellent, musical story that provides for a great outing. I would recommend it for all (though with some sexual innuendos and jokes, the play is probably not so suitable for younger audiences).
Author: Ryan Cunningham
Director: Laurie Asher
Producer: Greasepaint Productions
Booking Until: 28th November
Box office: Contact through website- http://londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/contact/
Booking Link: http://londontheatreworkshop.co.uk/i-love-you-because/