The hardest thing for any solo performer isn’t baring your soul, it’s making your audience care about you baring your soul. Emily Love Morrison’s But Love Is My Middle Name is more than a collection of “the loves that got away” remembrances. It is a quest. But like many epic journeys, one comes in search of one thing and ends up discovering another.
Morrison chronicles her life as a starry-eyed southern belle in New York, seeking music fame and flygirl fun. (Morrison asides that this was before the flygirls of In Living Color.) These tales of romantic woe are familiar. But just as you are about to check your phone, a wry observation rings in (“I had to put him on a food plan: he got a box of Eggo waffles every week”). Or Emily sings — her own songs (“If I Had My Way,” for instance) — or a cover. Her voice is pleasant, and puts you in the intimate ambience of a downstairs jazz club. And as time goes by, something about Love’s search for love unfolds. Morrison has a bright-eyed Annie hopefulness, maybe taken down a notch by her dismay at the way life unfolds, but never extinguished.
Bradley Foster Smith, playing all the male roles, offers perfect support, a masculine presence that doesn’t upstage Morrison.
Running time: 75 minutes
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