WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE: Dominion Theatre
WHEN: 18/7, press night 21/7 runs to 7/1/17
We first saw this Whitney Houston jukebox musical starring X Factor winner Alexandra Burke in 2014 at the Adelphi Theatre.
- Read on for details of understudy Carole Stennett’s performance deputising for Beverley Knight
It’s now in previews at the 2,163-capacity Dominion starring Beverley Knight (pictured above), nominated for Best Takeover In A Role in the WhatsOnStage awards in 2014 for her previous work on the show.
But we saw it on a Monday starring Ms Knight’s understudy Carole Stennett who is also appearing on Wednesday matinees. It was her first performance in her lead role in the show.
For those unfamiliar with the 1992 film, Ben Richards plays the titular role of the bodyguard assigned to superstar Rachel Marron whose life is being threatened by a mystery deranged fan. Pleasingly, he’s as wooden and emotionally stunted as Kevin Costner in the movie. His karaoke is about as heartfelt and in tune also.
The piece works best in its stage adaptation when the choreographed numbers at the heart of the movie find their more natural setting in concert mode.
The musical, directed by Thea Sharrock, who guided Tom Hiddleston on TV in The Hollow Crown‘s Henry V as well as Me Before You currently showing in cinemas, differs from the movie and the new scenes, particularly a memorable karaoke session, work well.
Less convincing, causing an outbreak of audience titters at our performance, was the use of song All The Man That I Need (sample lyric: ‘He fills me up…’) after the superstar reflects on being bedded by the sleeping bodyguard as she watches over him.
Understudy Stennett is a talented dancer/singer and if she doesn’t quite convince as a superstar on Monday nights and Wednesday afternoons just yet, we’re sure she soon will in this top drawer feel good musical with added jeopardy.
As for Ms Knight, we last saw her whip up a storm as Grizabella stopping the show with Memory in Cats at the Palladium last Christmas, and don’t doubt she could add another * to the *** we’re giving this version of The Bodyguard.
- Picture via Facebook courtesy The Bodyguard musical. Tickets here.
- Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham