A musical that is visibly enjoyable for both the cast and audience
I Love You Because tells the classic tale of two couples (and a few extras) who find themselves falling in and out of love while looking for their perfect, imperfect partners. While not massively ground-breaking in the originality department, the musical presents itself as a fun and lively evening of entertainment. The script is well written and features a selection of well-timed jokes both during speech and song, which have been generally executed successfully. SUSU Showstoppers have been able to showcase the needed energy, with a good balance between all parts of the performance.
The cast were often fuelled with moments of pure joy. The central character of Austin (Will Fieldhouse) was shown continually to be a nerdy and nervous man who just wanted to inspire his troublesome ex to get back with him. Fieldhouse played this role well and made the character a relatable person. He was joined in a romantic journey with Marcy, played by Harriet Harding. There were continually spectacular performances by Harding, whose singing ability was showcased time after time in an onslaught of belting and lighter songs. Antigone Robertson as Diana was also one whose vocal performance should be commended, especially as both of these women were able to hold their voices steady while also dancing. Robertson was paired with Kenny Adegbola who played her romantic partner of Jeff. Together, their chemistry was superb, and both gave believable performances as friends with extra benefits. Adegbola’s Jeff was a likeable character but became increasingly less intelligent after the first few scenes which seemed a bit bizarre at times. The main cast was supported by Imy Brighty-Potts and Alex Wareham who played a multitude of characters. Wareham was a real scene-stealer and made sure to cash in on the moments that were his, doing so with excellent vocal talent and comedic timing.
The technical aspects of the performance fluctuated between impressive and not so. The moody backdrops suited the New York based staging perfectly. However, it can be seen as quite the challenge to ensure that there were enough opportunities to change scenes between the different moments in the show, including two different living rooms, a coffee shop, and a bar. The set changes were often a bit messy and could have been timed better with the lights, but this is to be expected with such complicated movements. There were a few missed opportunities in terms of set, especially with the rooms inside the two different houses, which ended up looking almost exactly the same. There was also a calendar that resided on a shelf that stayed on the same date despite two months passing by over the course of the show, but this can be ignored as it was a generally appealing set. This, matched with an excellent lighting display, aided the onstage performances perfectly.
Act One was filled with a multitude of songs which were on the whole, performed well. The first song, Another Saturday Night in New York, set the scene for the rest of the show and treated us to a showcase of all the cast’s talents in both vocal and choreographed performance. Despite a few misplaced harmonies and lost words due to quiet microphones, the delightful cacophony of musical performance was thoroughly enjoyable. This is a moment to commend the incredible job of the band, who never once faltered and paired excellently with the vocal talents. It is a shame that they often overpowered the volume of the singers. Personal highlights from Act One include Oh What a Difference, The Actuary Song, and Just Not Now. The best moment from this act had to have been the playful, We’re Just Friends, which featured upbeat and endearing choreography, as well as great chemistry and vocal performance.
Act Two was considerably shorter but didn’t lack in enjoyability. The act opened with excellent vocals despite somewhat stilted positioning. The harmonies in But I Do and the finale song, I Love You Because, were of superb quality. Perhaps one of the best moments from the show was That’s What’s Gonna Happen, which became a fun performance for those on stage as well as the audience. The final act did feature a lot of moments that relied heavily on emotional range which wasn’t completely achieved during some parts, but ultimately it was a good performance.
Overall, I Love You Because received joyous direction. The cast onstage thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and an audience can only relish in the same happy feeling. It is definitely not a show to be missed and can only be described as a light-hearted attempted by Showstoppers to instil a bit more romance in an otherwise dreary start to the year.
I Love You Because is being performed at The Annex Theatre from February 5th to 8th 2020.