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Review: The Bodyguard (Dominion Theatre)

Beverley Knight returns to play the role made famous by the late Whitney Houston

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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It's almost 24 years since Whitney Houston brought pop diva Rachel Marron to life in the 1992 blockbuster The Bodyguard, but dated is one thing this revival is not.

From Tim Hatley's camera shutter set and dazzling costumes, to Duncan McLean's stirring projections and Mark Henderson's atmospheric lighting, Thea Sharrock's production feels distinctly cinematic. It's less a stage adaptation of the film, more the film on stage. Not necessarily a bad thing, judging by the reactions of the rambunctious crowd at the packed Dominion, who were gasping and giggling throughout.

Returning to the role she made her professional theatre debut in three years ago, Beverley Knight plays Rachel Marron, a pop star on the Academy Awards campaign trail. She's at the top of her game, but with the adoring fans, best selling albums and Oscar nominations comes the stalkers and the death threats. Enter Frank Farmer (Ben Richards - a dead ringer for Kevin Costner), a retired bodyguard called upon to provide security for the singer and her son.

The film is such a classic that it won't be much of a spoiler to say that things go a little awry when Marron and Farmer's relationship gets physical, leaving sister Nicki (the phenomenal Rachel John who deserves her own name above a title somewhere) on the sidelines once more.

Knight continues to prove she's one of the best singers in the country. It's an ideal casting in some sense, a pop star playing a pop star, and it's hard to imagine anyone that could so ably conquer Houston's back catalogue. But it would do Knight a disservice to say her voice is all she brings; it's clear she's worked on both her acting and dancing - her accent being my only minor grievance, the southern drawl carried over from her brilliant performance in Memphis not quite fitting of New Yorker Marron.

For all the cheesiness - there is plenty, including a 60 foot projection of Richards that Knight serenades during the finale - The Bodyguard is a glitzy, energetic night out with at least two unmissable performances.

The Bodyguard runs at the Dominion Theatre until 7 January.

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