This is a review of Vicki Levy Presents “The Trouble With Love” at The Triad on Saturday, May 8, 2004.
Combining Broadway bravado with traditional singer/songwriter personality, Vicki Levy took to The Triad's stage last Saturday night and shined, quite literally in her sparkling Franko Nicolella dress.
Vicki opened her semi-autobiographical musical, The Trouble With Love, with the Faith Hill's "One." She and her band, precise and snap-tight in their accompaniment, continued with a blend of original and cover songs interspersed with monologues explaining in a manner of ways The Trouble With Love.
Musically and vocally the night was near perfect. The show's shortcomings also centered around this immaculate direction-precisely rehearsed banter and flawless improvisations left little room for the audience to believe in the show's intended inherent emotion. Broadway musicals are their own beast, capturing in their Stepford-like methodologies the emotions of a writer to a tee, while rarely showcasing the creativity of cast members.
An emotional highpoint of the evening occurred during "Tragedy" when composer/pianist Rob LaRocco led the audience in clapping along to the upbeat number. At that moment there was a heartfelt and musical connection between artist and audience. Too quickly, however, the show returned to its showcasing of technical exactitude. The musical cleanliness helped make Levy's voice the true star of Trouble. She sings powerfully, with an impressive depth of a singer who should be showcased prominently in a major Broadway cast.
Once again connecting with the crowd, Vicki discussed her involuntary romantic solitude (of which the men in the audience are probably still pondering the causes). Her audience became rapt in her introspection, which seemed to coincide with Levy's straying from any script. Building upon the crowd's focus she shared that she is originally from South Africa, at which point "The Click Song" began. While singing what we all know as lyrics, Levy incorporated vocal clicking from an indigenous language in her homeland (men and women alike are probably also still pondering this technique). "The Click Song" clearly marked the pinnacle of the show. Its personal story, intriguing technique and perhaps Levy's most confident moment of the night brought about rousing applause.
Trouble's unnaturally well-timed encore fell more in line with earlier moments of the show, seemingly thought out too well...which brings us back to Ms. Levy's voice. Vocally she is versatile, powerful and capable of pulling off many styles. Her trouble lies in consistently bringing out the emotion she demonstrated at high points in The Trouble With Love. Should she delve more into herself, there may be a burgeoning singer/songwriter on the horizon. Following her other strength, should she decide to more fervently pursue a career on Broadway her ability to capture a songwriter's technical reproduction is undeniably impressive.