Witty tales of New York romance are a staple of both musical theatre and TV sitcom, and I Love You Because stands up favourably in comparison with the best of them.
Ryan Cunningham and Joshua Salzman’s musical examines the love lives of geeky Austin (Daniel Boys) and devil may care brother Jeff (Richard Frame), one trying to win back a girlfriend by feigning disinterest and the other trying to have a good time without getting emotionally involved.
Apart from the opening number, where his vocals are overwhelmed by the stronger voices of his five cast mates, Boys delivers an impressive performance, rising in confidence and stature throughout, both as character and performer. Jodie Jacobs and Debbie Kurup excel in their roles of potential love interests, ably backed up by Mark Goldthorp and Lucy Williamson. But even among such an impressive ensemble, it’s Frame’s exuberance and comic timing that shines.
Rob McWhir’s direction ensures that some of the songs’ knowing Vaudevillian excesses are counterpointed by acutely observed small moments throughout. And, while the show may not end on its strongest musical number, the message that the show conveys – one should love someone, or something, because of their faults rather than in spite of them – applies equally well to this little gem of a musical.
Reviewed for The Stage