VIRTUOSITY by Vivian Reed (RVL Productions). At Bluma Appel (27 Front East). To January 24. See Continuing. Rating: N
Virtuosity sells itself on the strength of the “triple threat,” a now-common theatre term for those who can sing, dance and act.[rssbreak]
But this song-and-dance revue assembled by and starring veteran Tony-nominated triple threat Vivian Reed, with a cast of five talented 3Ters, forgoes engaging the audience with plot, structure or cohesion.
The show consists of 30 easy-listening variety-show standards by the likes of Burt Bacharach, Isaac Hayes and Smokey Robinson. Each is framed by a simplistic skit (most are vaguely about “love”), while the show’s overall vibe feels forced due to poor musical and costume choices.
Early on, Reed (whose voice still packs a powerful punch) delivers a bewildering rendition of Cantate Domino surrounded by dancers dressed in what appear to be sparkly, shaggy sniper suits. Later we’re hustled through an ill-conceived white-trash electro-ballet soul number, and the second act features an awkward, misplaced “nu-rave-styled” gesture to “club culture.”
A slowed-down rendition of Cyndi Lauper’s rock ballad Time After Time sounds like it’s sung by glazed-over Valium addicts, which smothers the original’s sexual tension.
The only real threats here are to your attention span and your tolerance for cheesy fluff sung by dudes in pyjama pants.