Until Sat Sep 28
© Paul Coltas
James Wooldridge (ensemble), Heather Headley (Rachel Marron) Lloyd Owen (Frank Farmer)
Time Out rating:
Time Out says
Thu Dec 6 2012
There is surely an excruciatingly tacky musical adaptation of the Whitney Houston-starring romantic thriller 'The Bodyguard' to be made. But this is not it. In fact Thea Sharrock's production could scarcely look pricier if Lloyd Owen's personal security guard Frank Farmer had been charged with protecting an enormous pile of real gold bullion, as opposed to Heather Headley's singing superstar Rachel Marron
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. It gives 'The Bodyguard' a tightly edited, filmic slickness the likes of which I've never seen in the theatre, and goes some way to making up for one of the ropiest scripts in musical history.
Seriously: even Steven Seagal might have doubts about Alexander Dinelaris's book, in which most characters struggle to achieve one dimension. The most rounded is Owen's granite-like Frank, a taciturn super-agent who communicates solely in macho quips. Next is Headley's Rachel, who treats everyone horribly until Frank saves her life, at which point she becomes lovely. At the bottom of the pile is Rachel's stalker (Mark Letheren). All you need to know about him is that his character's name is actually The Stalker.
This might not be a problem in more flamboyant musicals. But '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. Aesthetically, it's been nicely updated to the world of emails and mobile phones (though that metal dress is a sad casualty of the makeover). And the gifted Sharrock steers the ship blessedly clear of camp – not quite one for the lads, but the bloke on the street might be surprised by how much he enjoys it.
Watching 'The Bodyguard' is like watching a slick Hollywood blockbuster unfold live in front of you, and that's no bad thing. If shows that prize FX over human warmth are to be the future of the musical then that's not so good, but I'd defy anyone who appreciates a spectacle not to enjoy this finely wrought hokum.
Adelphi Theatre The Strand
020 7492 9930
Tube: Charing Cross
- The Strand
- 020 7492 9930
- The Strand
- Adelphi Theatre
- Event phone:
020 7492 9930
- Event website:
Theatre. West End. Musicals
- Type of event:
Plays and shows
The Bodyguard 2013
- Date Time Price information
Thu May 2319:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets
Fri May 2419:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets
Sat May 2515:00£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets19:30
Mon May 2719:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets
Tue May 2819:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets
Wed May 2915:00£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets19:30
Thu May 3019:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets
Fri May 3119:30£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins. Booking until Sep 28Buy tickets