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The Bodyguard, Adelphi Theatre, London

Whatever else, this is not, as the publicity says, a new musical.

It is another addition to the crop – glut? – of shows exploiting an ancient movie, such as Ghost and Dirty Dancing.

Whitney Houston has a terrific back catalogue – there is more than I Will Always Love You – and Thea Sharrock, who usually does more cerebral things, has staged this bowdlerised, poorly dramatised version of the film with great style.

It might be cheaper to stay home with a Houston CD and a DVD of the film in which she starred as Rachel Marron, the troubled diva threatened by a homicidal stalker, opposite Kevin Costner as her bodyguard – but there are compensations.

There's a terrific set by Tim Hatley, who also designed the spectacular dresses, an energetic ensemble, a first-rate band under Richard Beadle, those songs and the singers.

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?

Otherwise, the attempted killing at the Oscars is ineptly staged and the acting is am dram, but there are good things – the two terrific leading ladies and at the end a send-them-out-smiling rendition by the cast of I Wanna Dance With Somebody.


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