Passion play

I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change Chico Cabaret Thurs., April 15, Shows Thurs.-Sat., 7:30 p.m. through May 15

Since its opening in 1996, the off-Broadway hit I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, written by Joe DiPietro, has been one of New York City’s most popular productions, one cited in the national press as “Seinfeld set to music.” Chico Cabaret Theatre’s new production does it full justice.

Partly due to the seemingly on-target portrayal of the love/hate relationship of an average heterosexual couple, and partly due to the bouncy fun music of Jimmy Roberts, I Love You speaks loudly about the obvious inconsistencies between the sexes and the strains couples go through. (It should be noted, though, that DiPietro is gay. In this light, his insight into heterosexual relationships takes on new meaning.)

Director Sue Ruttenberg has created a fun evening of musical and comedic entertainment. The sterling ensemble bounces back and forth among characters who are all caught up in the wacky world of love and relationships.

The four actors all have their own specialties: Julia Dalton mixes an Ally McBeal sensibility with a Julia-Louise Dreyfus kind of direct honesty and pulls it together with dynamic credibility. Jeremy J. Shull has a fine singing voice and a knack for getting personal with the audience in a charming if slightly deranged way. Tony Varicelli’s wild mannerisms and eyes commandeer the stage and inspire cast and audience like a community-production version of Will Ferrell, and Kyle Silliman-Smith adds a charming innocent touch to the stage, rounding out the portrayal of relationships with some of the more subtle aspects.