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Posts Tagged ‘Tristan Gemmill’

I’ve never seen the film, I’m not that fond of the music of Whitney Houston and I don’t know much about leading lady Beverley Knight. ‘So why did you go, and 14 months into the run too?’ I hear you ask. Well, it’s the ‘January sales’ (36% off best seats & no fees), it’s January (nothing much happens) and the Sharrock-Hatley creative team are favourites of mine. Enough of the excuses; it’s rather good.

Celebrity diva Rachel Marron is being stalked, so ‘her people’ hire a bodyguard but don’t tell her why. When he starts restricting her movements, she rebels, but she soon learns why she’s got a bodyguard and not only accepts this, but falls for him too. Rachel’s sister Nicki fancies him as well, but he’s just another one of the things Rachel gets that she doesn’t. Their brief dalliance is ended by the bodyguard as he realises he can’t be both boyfriend and bodyguard successfully. The stalking continues to its tragic conclusion.

It’s hardly ground-breaking stuff, but it gets a production way beyond the one it deserves. Thea Sharrock is an unlikely choice of director, but she does a terrific job, handling both the romance and the tension equally well. Tim Hatley’s design is superb, moving from LA mansion to back-of-beyond log cabin via clubs, theatres & concert venues ever so slickly. Mark Henderson’s lighting is simply brilliant.

You can tell Beverley Knight is a singer rather than an actor, but given the demands of these songs, that’s just as well; I thought she was excellent. Tristan Gemmill plays the non-singing role of the bodyguard as ice cool professional with great presence. I loved Carole Stennett as sister Nicki, and the boy who plays Rachel’s 10-year old son (one of four, so I know not who) does so with great confidence.

For a show that has been going this long, it’s remarkably fresh (though this cast is fairly new) and it’s way better than other film-to-stage shows like Dirty Dancing. A rather pleasant January surprise.

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