THE BODYGUARD (musical)
CONTAINS GUNSHOTS, FLASHING LIGHTS, VERY LOUD MUSIC, FIRE AND SMOKE EFFECTS.
Ends 7th January 2017.
Rachel Marron is a star with a stalker. Frank Farmer is a bodyguard with
Secret Service training. Both have egos, so it can only mean love/hate
from the start...
The 1992 film is brought to the stage, complete with a catalogue of
Whitney Houston numbers, including the cover version of Dolly Parton's
"I Will Always Love You."
A revival of the 2012 hit at the Adelphi Theatre.
Beverley Knight plays Rachel Marron.
Beverley Knight is currently scheduled to appear at Tuesday to Friday
evening, and all Saturday performances. Beverley Knight will NOT appear
on Saturday 13th and Wednesday 31st August; Thursday 1st, Friday 2nd,
Saturday 3rd, Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st and Wednesday 28th September;
Saturday 1st, Tuesday 18th and Friday 28th October; Saturday 12th,
Tuesday 15th and Tuesday 22nd November; Saturday 17th, Friday 30th and
Saturday 31st December 2016. Cast holiday details are given for
information only, and Theatremonkey.com CANNOT take responsibility for
any issue arising from the accuracy or otherwise of these details, nor
guest use of this information.
(seen at the Evening performance on 27th July 2016)
On this performance alone, Ms Beverley Knight could sing the phone book and
the monkey would buy a ticket just to hear that.
A true theatrical phenomenon, her performance is unmissable - and this revised
version of the show gives her the best possible platform (literally) to work on.
Hit after hit is delivered with a vocal to make you simply want to hear each one
In a theatre slightly too big for the production (the set is
masked at the sides, to fill a gap) the drama sometimes has a job coming over,
even by row J of the stalls where the monkey was. No matter, Mark Henderson's
"rock concert" lighting is a triumph, Duncan McLean's video design outstanding
and Richard Brooker's sound at an appropriate volume.
Most important Ms Knight gets some excellent support from the surrounding cast.
Her "Memphis" alternate Rachel John gets to play her sister this time, with a
couple of solos proving another fine performer shares the stage.
Bodyguard Ben Richards makes the most of a small role, with a terrible (and fun)
karaoke moment. He's best, though, sharing with Fletcher, the lead character's
son. Max Fincham (not pictured) the night the monkey saw it, nice job - future
The ensemble dance up a storm, though the monkey was more than a little
worried about one of the lady dancers. She appeared to have a stiff leg and
trouble moving. Hope she was OK and just had a cramp.
The story itself remains more than a little bit ropey, but benefits in a way
from small edits to the original. Nevertheless, the show is a fun night out for
all that, a cut above the usual "familiar songs inserted into a story" and
"stage to screen" adaptations for certain. Well worth going out for, instead of
a night in front of the DVD.
Oh, and a quick note. The show programme is £8 - and for a change, actually
worth the money. Nicely written and excellent photographs. Just saying... other
theatres, take note.
From the previous Adelphi Theatre production (Seen at the preview performance
on 29th November 2012). Original actors have since left the cast.
This is a strange combination of straight drama, multi-media display and musical
theatre, in that order. In line with current trends, a cinematic approach sees
scenes framed by borders / augmented by projections (including a final
‘montage’) and the whole played at a pace somewhere between live and recorded
There’s a decent enough story, and enough twists to keep those (like
the monkey) who had never seen the film, guessing. The problem is in the label
“musical.” Songs from the original film soundtrack are dotted among scenes,
often failing to do the vital job of “driving the action forwards.”
Even stranger, the placement is so random that sometimes the whole show pauses,
while at other times - when the show could do with a song (particularly an
original number) - the opportunity is missed.
The result is an uneven evening, but still with plenty to like. It’s nicely
staged, Tim Hatley scoring particularly heavily by managing to conceal a major
piece of scenery until late in the second half, and pulling off a corny
so-old-it’s-new-again climactic sequence with aplomb.
The songs used are also fine – can’t beat a bit of Dolly Parton - and delivered
with a sincerity overcoming volume by Gloria Onitiri (Heather Headley being
absent the night the monkey reviewed it) and Debbie Kurup as sisters in love
with the same man. There are also neat performances by a child actor (the show’s
PR didn’t get back to the monkey with the name) as her young son, and a chance
to hear Ray “Starlight” Shell sing a little too. Lloyd Owen turns in the best
performance he can too, given the script, and his “I Will Always Love You” will
linger in the memory like a dodgy curry for weeks.
A little more humour wouldn’t have gone amiss, particularly in the struggling
first 40 minutes or so, when it was hardest to like the characters or care what
happened. It took until a moment that a song did “drive the story’ to break
through, but once that happened, the whole managed – a few too many “stop, we
need to sing” moments aside - to motor well enough along.
The monkey would, though, drop the obnoxious finale - requiring the audience to
stand to catch the final ten minutes. Just for the record, the monkey hands out
“standing ovations” only when earned; and that's as rarely as it hands its
cheque account details to “African Fund Transfer” websites.
Not a show for Sondheim fans, nor the Rogers and Hammerstein brigade. This is
for occasional theatregoers wanting a light evening out that “looks worth the
price of a ticket” with satisfyingly “X Factor circa 2005” tunes and the belting
performances to match. Hen parties, second dates or just for a light night out,
this fits the bill pretty well.