Originally the Sans Pareil built by a merchant called Scott to display the talents of his daughter. Opened on 27 Nov 1806 with Miss Scott's Entertainment. Became the Adelphi in 1819. The original theatre was demolished in 1858 and replaced with a bigger one which, with many alterations, remains. Restored to its 1930s form. 1500 seats. Society of London Theatre member.
Based on the smash hit film which starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge - what they don't expect is to fall in love. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a multitude of Whitney Houston's greatest hits, including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I'm Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, How Will I Know, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest hit songs of all time - I Will Always Love You.
Heather Headley is a soul sister knockout as Rachel Marron, Queen of the Night, the Whitney Houston role in the 1992 movie The Bodyguard, now recycled as a romantic pop rock opera with all the big hits and a flattened out, theatrical story-line... Film fans will love the plethora of numbers, Arthur Pita's electric musical staging and hyperbolic show-time routines, Debbie Kurup's fine performance as Rachel’s jealous sister, and will be relieved that Sean Chapman, not Gary Kemp, is playing the PR man... All credit to a hot, snazzy band under Richard Beadle, the lighting of Mark Henderson and the cheerful contributions of Chapman, Ray Shell and Nicolas Colicos as the backing group entourage who never break sweat. And those who love the songs will probably need no further bidding.
The undoubted star of Sharrock's stylish production is the extraordinary set - a series of mobile panels which open and close like a giant, mobile camera shutter, blinking in and out, and panning cinematographically in every direction... The Bodyguard is closer to a play with Whitney Houston songs, with many parts - notably Frank - being non-singing. As a result, Owen and Headley enjoy almost no chemistry, because they don't duet, they don't have very many lines and the lines they do have sound like dialogue from a computer game. Emotionally involving it is not... But there are other things to like: Tony-winning US actor Headley offers showstopping vocals with minimum fuss and Houston's ballads are all smartly contextualised... Watching The Bodyguard is like watching a slick Hollywood blockbuster unfold live in front of you, and that's no bad thing
Heather Headley is mesmerising in this stage version of the early Nineties film that starred the late Whitney Houston as diva Rachel Marron... It’s much better than that suggests – enjoyable and more than a little camp... Owen is a solid presence, bringing a curt dryness to a part in which he doesn’t actually have a lot to do. The chemistry between the leads doesn’t smoulder. Nor are Frank’s insights into the art of protection much better than laughable. But Debbie Kurup is passionately soulful as Rachel’s envious sister Nicki, and in smaller roles there’s decent work, with Mark Letheren genuinely creepy as Rachel’s stalker... It’s refreshing that, despite its obvious American roots, this is a new musical that has been developed in Britain. And it’s a feelgood show to boot. What’s missing is a sense of danger. That, and true emotional depth.
Thea Sharrock has done a remarkable job. Her production, spectacularly and ingeniously designed by Tim Hatley, is far more enjoyable than the movie. And there is a thrilling star performance from the Trinidad-born, American-based singer and actress Heather Headley, who, when it comes to selling a song, hitting the high notes and ornamenting a number with vocal swoops and trills, struck me as being at least as fine a singer as Houston in her heyday, if not even better... But that is largely where the good news ends. Though Alexander Dinelaris has tweaked Lawrence Kasdan’s screenplay, the show remains trite and sentimental, while Lloyd Owen proves sourly humourless and gruff as the bodyguard... But with all the big Whitney Houston hits superbly delivered by Headley and a cracking pit band, I suspect it is destined for a long and lucrative run.
Lawrence Kasdan has recorded his surprise at the idea of his screenplay for the 1992 movie, starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, being used as the basis for a musical. My own reaction, having seen the finished product, is more one of mild dismay. Although the show is staged with enormous technical efficiency, it is one more example of the necrophiliac musical morbidly attracted to a cinematic corpse... Kasdan's original screenplay, reportedly rejected 37 times, was pretty silly to start with. But it's not made any more persuasive by the need to highlight the songs. It's always good to hear the old Dolly Parton number, “I Will Always Love You”, as we do several times during the evening. “Queen of the Night”, part written by Houston herself with a mild nod to Mozart, also makes its mark.
It’s loud, it’s soupy, yet it makes for a pumpy, undemanding evening... Director Thea Sharrock gives us so many scene changes that it’s a bit like being on a train. The incessant movement takes our mind off some clunky story-telling... The thing is shamelessly a Hollywood rip-off, with projected film clips on enormous screens. That dilutes the stage drama, but there are lots of full-tonsil ballads and some genuine moments of suspense. Corny? Yes. But a perfect end of the day for couples on a shopping trip to London.
"I've got the stuff that you want..." and, sure, she does: Heather Headley is a soul sister knockout as Rachel Marron, Queen of the Night, the Whitney Houston role in the 1992 movie The Bodyguard, now recycled as a romantic pop rock opera with all the big hits and a flattened out, theatrical story-line.
Hired against the wishes of Rachel's entourage, Lloyd Owen’s broody Frank Farmer (the Kevin Costner "homage to Steve McQueen" role) is a former secret service agent haunted by his absence off duty when Ronald Reagan was shot (reference deleted, along with any sense of period, in this version) and an unlikely lady-killer, even inadvertently, despite his glowering, basso profundo presence.
Owen's a really fine actor, but doing very little on a stage is different from doing very little on screen, so director Thea Sharrock and her myriad producers have handed him first dibs with "I Will Always Love You", the Dolly Parton song that is a cover version voice-over when Whitney and Costner smooch in the back bar.
Trouble is, he doesn’t sing it very well, surprising in a Welshman, but then you realise he isn’t singing it very well deliberately, like Max Wall expertly messing up on his trumpet.
[WOS_QU@TE]#Heather Headley is a soul sister knockout as Rachel Marron[/WOS_QU@TE]
Heather Headley - the Broadway star of The Lion King and Aida - doesn't give us much of a clue, either: she's absolutely tremendous when she sings, combining the snap and passion of Whitney with the eccentric stomping of Grace Jones, but the book of Alexander Dinelaris, based on the screenplay of Lawrence Kasdan, doesn't help her express much interior life.
Film fans will love the plethora of numbers, Arthur Pita's electric musical staging and hyperbolic show-time routines, Debbie Kurup's fine performance as Rachel’s jealous sister, and will be relieved that Sean Chapman, not Gary Kemp, is playing the PR man.
The Bodyguard virgins, however, and musical theatre fanciers, may be mystified by the tepid plot twists, the dead dog, the exact identity of the stalker (Mark Letheren), the profusion of pleated curtains courtesy of designer Tim Hatley, the cumbersome unsuitability of the concept (lacking the film's landscapes, spooky night-time chase through the woods, the brilliantly edited Oscar night climax).
But all is forgiven as Headley descends on us once more, pushing out onto the little thrust stage and whipping the audience into a frenzy. For like so many of these musicals, it’s at its most enjoyable as an expensively costumed concert.
All credit to a hot, snazzy band under Richard Beadle, the lighting of Mark Henderson and the cheerful contributions of Chapman, Ray Shell and Nicolas Colicos as the backing group entourage who never break sweat. And those who love the songs will probably need no further bidding.
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