Review Roundup: THE BODYGUARD Musical Opens in London
The London Evening Standard has this to say: Heather Headley is mesmerising in this stage version of the early Nineties film that starred the late Whitney Houston as diva Rachel Marron. The movie's soundtrack has sold 45 million copies and here is bolstered by some of Whitney's other big hits, which seem fresh and urgent, thanks to Headley's resonant and at times velvety voice.
Michael Billington of the Guardian has this to say: Heather Headley as Rachel also projects her numbers with ear-pounding force and suggests the vulnerable woman under the iron carapace of the superstar. Lloyd Owen is commendably laconic as Frank without ever quite suggesting he's a westernised samurai and Debbie Kurup is so skittishly beguiling as the superstar's sibling I kept wondering why on Earth The Bodyguard didn't run off with her.
Paul Taylor of the Independent writes: The Bodyguard manages to fall simultaneously into two pretty suspect categories – the screen-to-stage adaptation and the jukebox musical. But the show is an altogether more pleasurable experience than that doubly dubious distinction might make it sound.
Quentin Letts of the Mail Online reports: Director Thea Sharrock gives us so many scene changes, it's like being on a train. That incessant movement may take the audience's mind off some clunky story-telling. One belting ballad quickly yields to another, all sung at top whack. There is just about enough plot to provide the bones for the drama. If my remarks sound grudging for a four-star show, that is perhaps because the thing is so shamelessly a Hollywood rip-off.
Matt Wolf of the artsdesk says: For some, the opportunity to hear the Houston songbook re-packaged will be enough, and the show to some extent renders critical discourse as irrelevant as the likes of the West End Ghost, Dirty Dancing, and Flashdance did before it. Thea Sharrock's production is better than the above-named trio, largely due to the coolly commanding Headley... and to a physical production that is simultaneously sleek and slick, its cinematic dissolves tipping a nod to the celluloid source. Tim Hatley's design offers up moneyed chic, Oscar-night glitz, and the rural appeal of a log cabin retreat, all with an effortlessness not glimpsed elsewhere.
William Russell of the Herald Scotland says: Heather Headley belts out the Houston numbers superbly and, for good measure, there is Debbie Kurup as her sister Nikki doing the same. Both are well worth listening to – and looking at. Lloyd Owen is handsome, and while not in the Costner blue collar and jeans league, every bit as good at playing a block of wood – and he does get to sleep with Rachel, which is more than Kevin did. There is one surprise: guess who gets to sing I Will Always Love You first?
Mark Shenton of the Stage writes: The show, meanwhile, could have audiences running to the Adelphi for lots of reasons - a recognisable title and a back catalogue that are effectively mapped to that existing story. So it ticks all the boxes for an example of a show that Mamma Mia!'s advertising slogan epitomises: 'You already know you're gonna love it.'