Based on the 1992 movie, the musical adaptation of The Bodyguard first made it to the stage in 2012. Following critical success, the show is currently on a UK tour, stopping off at Wolverhampton Grand until 6 July.
Global superstar Rachel Marron is being unknowingly stalked, so her team employ former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer. However, following initial tension between the two, they find themselves falling in love with each other.
This stage adaptation is jam-packed with iconic Whitney Houston hits, beautifully performed by this exceptionally talented cast. Within the confines of a brilliantly versatile set, designed by Tim Hatley (who also designed the stunning costumes), the story flits from scene to scene effortlessly, perfectly framing the action.
Leading the way as Rachel Marron is the superb Jennlee Shallow. Her breath-taking performance kept the audience enthralled throughout and her pairing with Benoît Maréchal as Frank, pulsed with romantic chemistry. He even pulled the laughs with his hilarious rendition of a karaoke version of I Will Always Love You.
Phil Atkinson’s unnerving portrayal of the Stalker kept the audience on the edge of their seats, whilst there was an utterly endearing cameo from the exceptionally talented young actor as Fletcher.
However, it was the understated, yet gorgeous vocals of Micha Richardson as Nicki Marron which really stood out tonight. Her warmth filled the stage and her voice soared through the auditorium. Alongside Jennlee Shallow they formed a formidable pair.
Eye-popping choreography from Karen Bruce complemented the energetic orchestra – under the musical direction of Michael Riley– with all these elements being pulled together by director Thea Sharrock.
There are so many noteworthy moments in this gorgeously crafted show, not only is it true to the film, but on a nostalgic note it highlights Houston’s undeniable legacy that she has left behind.
Toe tapping glitz as Sweet Charity takes us on her search for love........
It was all toe tapping numbers and nightclub glitz at The Core Theatre tonight as the audience of Queensbridge Musical Theatre Society took us into the world of the Fandango House Dance Hall in New York with their production of Sweet Charity, by Cy Coleman and Dorothy Fields.
It was interesting to read in the programme that there were a number of debuts among the cast and the production team. The Director Leonie Jai Hamilton and Choreographer Natalie Baines were making their respective debuts on the production side, whilst Sarah Odom (playing the lead role of Charity) and Michelle Farrugia (playing the role of Ursula) were treading the boards for the first time as Principals with QMTS. However there was no evidence of this, as all the debutantes acquitted themselves with aplomb.
The role of Charity Hope Valentine, the dance hall hostess looking for love, was played with assured conviction by Sarah Odom. It is an extremely demanding role, as the character is hardly ever off the stage, and Sarah was more than up to the task, dancing, singing and acting her way with energy through Charity's attempts at finding love and very nearly achieving it. The bright and optimistic facets of Charity's character were really put across throughout the show.
Her co-dancers at the Fandango House Dance Hall, Nickie and Helene, were played well by Karina Harris and Emily Fouracre, and Paul Stait particularly charmed the audience with his performance as Vittorio Vidal, the famous actor who Charity spends an evening with.
The troubled Oscar, who Charity falls in love with, was played with assurance by Sam Troke, and they both acquitted themselves well in the elevator scene.
There are some big toe tapping numbers in this show, most notably 'Big Spender' and 'The Rhythm of Life', and these were delivered with gusto and confidence by the cast. There was some excellent singing throughout, with tight harmonies and good diction. All the musical numbers were sung with enthusiasm and accuracy by the well drilled cast.
The set was very minimalistic but it worked very well and it meant that the production ran seamlessly throughout.
The storyline is sometimes hard to inject with energy, as it is rather lacking in substance at times, but the entire cast, ably assisted by the excellent band led by Stephen Greenway, did very well with what is sometimes a challenging plot line. Credit really must go to everyone involved in this production for an entertaining and lively show.
BMOS Musical Theatre Company take to The Alexandra’s stage this week with their latest production, Half A Sixpence. Following a successful run in the West End in 2016, receiving critical acclaim, numerous awards and nominations, this production has done the rounds on the community theatre circuit ever since. Based on the novel ‘Kipps: The Story of a Simple Soul’ by H G Wells, this rag to riches story follows Arthur Kipps who inherits a fortune, but soon realises that money can’t buy love or happiness.
It is a fantastic vehicle for a leading man, especially as the musical was originally written for Tommy Steele who featured in 12 of the 15 numbers. In this new version (by Warner Brown), Kipps appears in an impressive 18 out of 24 numbers, quite the feat for Daniel Parker, who takes on the role with great aplomb. A typical cheeky chappie, his enduring performance and great voice held the show together excellently.
There was an abundance of supporting talent from this incredibly large ensemble cast, who filled the vast Alexandra stage. The sextet of shop boys and girls (Neil Ward, Alex Nicholls, Andrew Treacy, Morgan Bebbington, Rosie Harvey and Charlotte Boyer) showcased impressive harmonies throughout, particularly highlighted in the Economy (Reprise)near the close of the show. Plus, there were some notable performances from Carys Wilson(Helen), Jo Smith(Mrs Walsingham) and Lee Navin(Walsingham).
However, two further standout performances of the night came from Annabel Pilcher as Ann and Jake Genders as Chitterlow. Pilcher’s stunning voice filled the auditorium and her gritty performance of I Know What I Am was a real show-stealer. Meanwhile, Genders flamboyancy was an utter joy, encompassing the role of Chitterlow hilariously.
Most importantly, it must be remembered that this was very much an ensemble show, which was perfectly illustrated in Flash, Bang, Wallop– dealing with such an iconic number, the cast nailed it, in slick, drilled fashion, under the choreographic direction of Suzi Budd.
Directed by Stephen Duckhamand musically directed byDavid Easto, the cast and creative team of BMOS have brought to life this 1960s musical with great sophistication. It has, what you might call…finesse.
Half A Sixpence plays at The Alexandra until Saturday.
Playing in London since 2009, on its 10th anniversary the show has embarked on a UK tour stopping off at The Alexandra this week.
Celebrating the music of the Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson, this musical revue is a whistle stop tour through the ‘King of Pop’s’ music catalog. Set against a backdrop of digital projections and ingenious lighting, the show is packed with a cast of talented vocalists and dancers.
Under the astute musical direction of Andy Jeffcoat, the band flew through the numbers with superb precision, featuring a superb guitar solo from Allan Salmon. As Jackson’s music pulsed through the auditorium, the sensational vocalists came into their own. A quartet of superlative skill, Nick James, Britt Quentin (who’s also Resident Director on the show), Rory Taylor and Leticia Hector delivered each song expertly.
Some particular highlights included the Jackson 5 medley of I’ll Be There / I Want You Back / ABC, Blame it on the Boogie, Human Nature, as well as notable performances from Rory Taylor in She’s Out Of My Life, Britt Quentin in Man in the Mirror and Nick James and Leticia Hector in I Just Can’t Stop Loving You.
Alongside the talented vocals, there was equally impressive dancing on display. With sublime choreography from Director and Choreographer Gary Lloyd, the ensemble of dancers executed well drilled moves with exquisite skill. There were standout performances from both Daniel Bradford and Savannah Darnell, however it was the wondrous talents of Kieran Alleyne as the Lead Dancer who shone the brightest on stage. His equally impressive vocals left you in awe and he led the titular number expertly.
There were so many fantastic moments, it’s hard to list them all in one review, so grab yourself a ticket and catch this show. It really is one not to miss.
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