Friday, 28 September 2007

I Love You Because - Landor Theatre

I Love You Because
Landor Theatre: 19th Sept - 20th Oct
Book & Lyrics: Ryan Cunningham
Music: Joshua Salzman
Director: Robert McWhir

Musical direction: Ian Vince Gatt
Choreographer: Robbie O'Riley
Reviewed by: John Garfield-Roberts

Robert McWhir has taken the brave step of bringing a relatively unknown musical to the British shores for it’s UK Premier, and not only that but to show the piece in his small bijou theatre in the heart of Clapham, and I can report that this gamble is a sure fire hit.

I Love You Because, set in New York
follows the life of greeting card writer Austin Bennet, but life is turned upside down when on another Saturday night, he walks in to find his long term girlfriend Catherine sleeping with somebody else. Whilst on the other side of the city Diana is trying to cheer up Marcy after a break up with her long term boyfriend of 2 years, what follows is another boy-meets-girl romantic comedy, you could describe this show as Friends mixed up with Sex and the City, shaken and stirred with the best of musical theatre, even the set (excellently designed by Andy Edwards) take us to the places all to familiar in those TV shows, a coffee shop, a bar and of course the bedroom.

This show has the legs to go far, it is a rarity that I sit in the theatre and find it near impossible to find fault with a production, the only fault I did find was within the first few minutes of the opening number where Daniel Boys (Austin) was a little hard to hear – which is a pity because the opening number is fantastic, but as the show moves on Daniel’s confidence grows and provides the audience with a character we really care about. Richard Frame also provides an excellent older brother for Austin in his larger than life brother Jeff. Jodie Jacobs was in fine tune as Marcy, as was Debbie Kemp who perfects another hot heeled New York woman with her portrayal of Diana. Supporting roles were played with real panache and
wit by West-End veterans Lucy Williamson and Mark Goldthorp. I Love You Because is a real ensemble piece with each cast member really putting their mark firmly into this premier and that only strengthens the show even more.

It’s rare to find a new musical that has both an excellent book and libretto, but Salzman and Cunningham’s show provides us with some memorable tunes and a huge aching grin at the end of the night. Robert McWhir has directed a piece that is fluid and never lacks pace, he has added so many little details that it is hard to take in with one viewing, this is probably one of the best pieces of theatre I have seen in a very long time and I may if I can get myself a ticket, go and see this gem once again...but my guess is I will have to pay in blood or murder someone outside the theatre to get a seat.

I Love You Because is on at The Landor Theatre until 20th October for more information visit

Photos by and show, Top; Jodie Jacobs (Marcey) & Daniel Boys (Austin). Middle; Mark Goldthorp (NY Man) & Lucy Wiliamson (NY Woman). Bottom; Debbie Kurup (Diana) & Richard Frame (Jeff)
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