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The BodyGuard the musical

March 6, 2013

Michael Harrison/ David Ian/ BB Group/ Freddy Burger/ David Mirvish/ John Gore/ Elizabeth Williams/ Nederlander UK/ CJ E&M/ Tulchin/ Bartner / Michael Watt/ Paul Elliot/ John Frost production of Warner Brothers film “The BodyGuard”. A musical put together with a mega-budget and the creative collaboration of a Hollywood movie ie: lots and lots of powerful people with money.

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The central idea in BodyGuard the musical is the opportunity to insert Witney Houston hits wherever possible in the plot which is a thriller about the relationship that develops between the mega star and her bodyguard protecting her from a dangerous unhinged military trained obsessive fan who loves her too! 

I actually like Witney Houston. I took my Nanny Tattum for her 70th Birthday with my brother Kevin to see Witney’s very first concert in Britain in October 1986 at Wembley Arena. There were moments when our leading lady the Birmingham trained Gloria Onitiri approached Witney but it all felt like an edition of X Factor. The major problem is the play itself which involves men walking around the stage in scenes pretending to be hard whilst really it is there inner softness they want to communicate. APPALLING THEATRE. The result is you feel like you are having a nervous breakdown cycling between glimpses of euphoria, as emotional recognisable Witney Houston booms into the auditorium with disco flashing lights, coupled with SHOCKINGLY DULL men in suits walking around, avoiding the swishing long white curtains and moving walls of the very expensive and sophisticated automated scenery.

The audience sat mostly in silence in the first Act with what I would describe at best polite loud clapping with one exception, the rapturous appreciation of the very good production number at the end of the first Act. The second Act was worse BUT then as if there was a collective amnesia by the audience the rapture returned for our mega star impersonator as she floats up over the stalls on a cloud of dry ice, which I think was the last number although they have all merged in my addled memory of this show. Was it all just a terrible nightmare? NO the audience were clapping enthusiastically at the end – the 95% female audience seems to have gotten exactly what they wanted. This will almost certainly appear as if it is a hit because the producers will want to use the “West End” opening to market the future Broadway opening where I am sure this show will run for years with rotating DIVAS perpetuating the earnings of the legacy of Witney.

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