Tag Archives: David Page

The Bodyguard at The Adelphi Theatre – 15th February 2013

16 Feb

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve become slightly addicted with The Bodyguard since my first visit in December. At the moment I’m watching the show around once a week and I’m loving it more and more each time.

And when I found out I would happen to be in London the day Oliver Le Sueur was on for Frank Farmer for the first time I just couldn’t resist watching the show that day.

I love Lloyd Owen’s Frank. He’s very calm and oozes charisma. His Frank hides his feelings well and doesn’t open up to people quickly.
Oliver on the other hand comes across as much warmer and easier to get close to. His Frank shows more emotion and he generally appears more accessible. I loved seeing such a completely different take on the role. While I doubt this portrayal would suit Lloyd’s Frank it worked perfectly for Oliver. It was very impressive to see how relaxed Oliver appeared playing the male lead in such a big show for the very first time. I’m looking forward to seeing how he develops in the part once he has been on a few more times. If you get the chance please do go and catch him as Frank. You won’t be disappointed!

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Heather Headley once again proved what a star she is by delivering yet another breathtaking performance. Her and Oliver worked really well together. And for the first time her answer to “What did you expect?” after she tells Frank he doesn’t look like a Bodyguard made perfect sense: “Somebody bigger” (not that Oliver is small but he’s definitely not as tall as Lloyd).

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Debbie Kurup’s performance was flawless as always. Hearing her and Heather sing “Run to you” remains one of my show highlight. She gives Nicky a vulnerability that makes it impossible not to feel for her.

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I’d like to give a special shout out to David Page and Holly James. Watching those two dance is nothing but amazing. I really hope I’ll manage to catch Holly as Nicky and David as the Stalker sometimes.

If you haven’t seem The Bodyguard yet I urge you to go and watch the show. You’ll be treated to an evening full of breathtaking voices, great dancing and an all in all well done stage adaption of a popular movie.

For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com

The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre – 28th December 2012

3 Jan

I finally managed to sort out a visit to the newest “film to stage” musical in town a few days ago. The Bodyguard started previews in November and has received mixed reviews. Following the well-known movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Kostner the show tells the story of singer (and superstar) Rachel Marron who is threatened by an unknown stalker and Frank Farmer who is hired to protect her. Most of you will have seen the movie so I won’t go into any more details here. The stage show has changed a few pieces of the storyline – some of which work well and one in particular that I personally don’t like. But I’ll come back to that later (there will be spoilers!).

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Heather Headley stars as Rachel Marron and for me she is the highlight of the show. From the moment we catch the first glimpse of her right until the end of “I wanna dance with somebody” (the show’s uptempo finale) Heather owns the stage. She has the most amazing voice you can think of – not only does she have a power belt, her voice also has a really nice and warm tone. I love to hear her sing. However, beside being a brilliant singer Heather really captures the character of Rachel – extremely sure of herself and used to getting what she wants but in the end just a girl and mother who is scared for her life and the safety of her family.

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Frank Farmer – the bodyguard – is played by Lloyd Owens. The part focuses on acting only (there’s no dancing involved and the tiny bit of singing in one scene doesn’t really count) which works great for Lloyd. Frank is quite an introverted character so the actor playing him needs to have great stage presence to stand up to the outgoing Rachel Marron. And Lloyd Owen simply oozes charisma. The only slight problem I have with Lloyd’s portrayal is that it is hard to notice Frank actually falls in love with Rachel. He just seems too controlled and shows little to no feelings.

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Janet Kumah was on for Nicky Marron and I admit I was a bit disappointed to miss out on Debbie Kurup on my first visit (I just love to see her on stage). But that disappointment vanished as soon as Janet started singing for the first time. She has a wonderful voice and manages to give Nicky a really soft and extremely vulnerable side despite her burning jealousy of her popular sister Rachel. Coming back to the one script change (compared to the movie) I don’t really like so far: Nicky has been reduced to a lovesick girl who longs after Frank Farmer and envies her sister. In the movie it is Nicky who hires the killer. In the stage show she just dwells in jealousy, anger, sadness and maybe a little self-pity but she doesn’t actually do anything. For me that makes the character less interesting.

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The rest of the cast does a great job. Mark Letheren is wonderfully creepy as The Stalker (there is just one bad guy in the stage show) and I have to give a special mention to David Page who gets the chance to show off his dancing abilities as Rory (Rachel’s choreographer). Plus it is fantastic to see Holly James on stage again – she is just stunning and always manages to stand out. However, it is pretty clear that this show is focusing on Rachel, Frank and Nicky.

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For me The Bodyguard is a fabulous Whitney concert with a story mixed in between. I have heard people say that the whole show is lacking on substance and I agree to a certain extend. The story is predictable and the characters are not that well-developed. However, the show is based on a (in my opinion) rather bad movie that was successful because of Whitney Houston and its soundtrack. So anyone who watches The Bodyguard expecting deep and thoughtful theatre (to quote a character from another show) is bound to feel let down. Personally I had the best time watching this show and I’m already sorting out my next visit.

I suggest you give this one a try – if only to see and hear all those songs being performed by such a talented cast.

The Bodyguard is playing at the Adelphi Theatre. For more info and to book tickets visit http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com/.

Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory – January 21st 2012 (matinee)

23 Jan

After watching Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory in December I knew immediately that this wasn’t going to be my only time seeing the show. I’ve always liked the Chocolate Factory. It’s such a lovely little venue and so far their productions have never disappointed me. And Pippin turned out to be no difference.

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I admit I was a bit disappointed when I entered the bar before the show and was greeted with an understudy notice informing me that the part of Leading Player would be played by Bob Harms at this performance. Matt Rawle was one of my highlights of the show when I saw it back in December after all and I remembered from that Gypsy Kings best of show (also known as Zorro – the musical) that he often is the most vital part of any production he is in.

But as fantastic as his performance in Pippin is I can honestly say I didn’t miss him one bit at this matinee. The moment Bob Harms stepped on stage he had me glued to my seat. His Leading Player was charismatic, gripping and just plain cool. I would never have guessed it was his very first time in the role. So thumbs up for Bob! If you get the chance to catch him as Leading Player you can consider yourself lucky.

 

Harry Hepple gave another brilliant performance as Pippin. Such a lovely voice and he portrays Pippin’s search for meaning in the most perfect way. I feel for his Pippin. I enjoy coming along on his journey from level to level and I want him to succeed in becoming an outstanding person.

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Stuart Neal always manages to catch my eye and I would love to see his take on Pippin. Having said that I’m sure I’d miss seeing him as Theo on that occasion.

David Page is just perfect as Pippin’s rather shallow brother Lewis. That does sound a bit wrong so I should clarify that David is obviously not only a great dancer but also a fantastic actor. Speaking to him after the performance made it very clear that he is in no way vain or self absorbed but totally lovely and down to earth.

Holly James once again had me in awe – she is so stunningly beautiful and one of the most expressive dancers around. I could watch her dancing all day without getting bored.

France Ruffelle still didn’t impress me but as I’ve stated before it’ probably just one of those cases of “We don’t click”. She’s got a good voice and I know lots of people enjoy seeing her on stage and love her performance in Pippin.

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I can see why Pippin isn’t one of the shows that are put on regularly. The show is not typical mainstream and I can imagine it wouldn’t necessarily appeal to someone who is not really into theatre but just goes to see a show once in a while.

But still, the show shouldn’t be put back in the closet for ages once the run at the Chocolate Factory is over. Pippin is a well written piece of theatre with a fantastic score and (something not all shows have these days) a message. It’s a story about finding yourself, a story about becoming someone extraordinary without being corrupted.

 

So please do yourself a favour and go see this fantastic production of a show that deserves to be noticed amongst the common main stream shows of today.

 

Pippin is on at the Menier Chocolate Factory until February 25.

http://www.menierchocolatefactory.com

Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory – December 17 2011

22 Dec

Pippin at the Menier Chocolate Factory is yet another example that fringe theatre often produces the most extraordinary shows. After a friend and I went to see Parade at the Southwark Playhouse we decided that we needed to see more fringe theatre. So, our next trip to London in mind we booked tickets for Pippin. Personally I had no idea what the show was about and the cast hadn’t even been announced at the time. All I knew was that the Menier Chocolate Factory so far had never disappointed me with its productions – and this was a chance to see something new which I’m always up for.

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So who or what is Pippin?
Pippin is a boy on a search for meaning and fulfillment. I know this is not a proper synopsis but seriously, I don’t think I should go into too much detail. After all I will urge all of you to go and see the show at the end of this blog post. 😉

What I can say is that I totally loved the way the story is transported into the world of cyberspace in this production of the show. The whole concept of dividing the plot between real life and a mix of computer games, Twitter and the like all wrapped up in Fosse style dancing and a quite disturbing ending is pure genius. I admit it did take a bit of getting used to especially as I entered the auditorium not knowing what to expect at all. I loved how you basically walk into the story (I do pity Harry Hepple though – he doesn’t even get a proper interval break… you’ll see what I mean when you watch the show).

It’s amazing how such a tiny venue like the Chocolate Factory manages to stage productions like this. The set was quite amazing and the space looked so much larger than the other times I’d been there.

As mentioned before the cast hadn’t been announced when my friend and I booked the tickets for the show. And I can safely say: If I didn’t had tickets already I would have booked some straight after the first glance on the complete cast list!

First of all there is Matt Rawle as the Leading Player. Matt is one of those performers that will catch my eye no matter what part he is playing. The man oozes charisma and he has the ability to include the audience in his performance throughout the whole show. It always feels like he is performing for you only. The part of the Leading Player gives Matt the chance to actually talk to the audience and he does so with such a natural charm that it’s hard to look anywhere else whenever he is on stage.

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I managed to tear my eyes away from Matt now and then (it wasn’t easy, I can honestly say that!) and this was thanks to everyone else in the cast. It was amazing to see so much talent on one stage in such an intimate performing space.

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Harry Hepple (Pippin) is definitely one to watch out for in the future. He’s got such a fantastic voice and is a completely natural actor.

I loved seeing David Page on stage again after such a long time. I still remember him playing the lead in the UK tour of Kiss me Kate years ago (a show I only went to see because of a friend in the cast in the first place – and I’m so glad I did because I totally loved the production). What an amazing dancer and absolutely perfect as Pippin’s brother Lewis (and this shows what a great actor he is because I’m absolutely positive he is nowhere near as shallow and self absorbed as the character he plays ;-).

Stuart Neal will always have the Lord of the Rings bonus – meaning: Everyone who has been in Lord of the Rings – the musical has bonus points in my judgment already. But I am happy to report Stuart doesn’t need that bonus. I loved seeing him as Theo (yes, there were a few Hobbit / Pippin like facial expressions but those totally fit the part) and I had no idea he was such a great dancer as well.

I admit I wasn’t too fond of Frances Ruffelle as Fastrada but that is probably just down to the fact that she is just one of the performers I can never warm to. She’s a good actress, had a nice voice and she’s good great comic timing – she’s just not for me.

Ian Kelsey as Charles (it took me ages to figure out where I’d seen him before…. It was Chicago, of course!), Louise Gold as Berthe and Carly Bawden as Catherine all do a fantastic job. I can’t say a bad thing about their performances.

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A special shout out has to go to the absolutely awesome ensemble in this show. Yes, the stage did appear larger than I remembered it to be but still, this is a small fringe venue. To dance in such a small space especially with a whole ensemble can’t be easy. Plus the choreography of this show definitely requires a lot of skill. And the guys and girls in the cast really did the whole piece justice. And I just have to say it here and now: Holly James is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen on stage! Seriously, the girl is stunning (and she’s an amazing singer and dancer as well). I’ve been lucky enough to see her in a few shows already (Hairspray, Hair and Shoes) and she always stood out – in a positive way, of course!

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So, if I haven’t done everything wrong at least some of you will now consider booking a ticket to see Pippin. And this will now be my final plug: Please, please, please do yourself a favour and watch this show! It’s got a fantastic cast, a great score, it’s interesting and a show you might not get the chance to see again anytime soon (in my eyes Pippin is a largely under-appreciated musical). So go see it now!

Pippin is running at the Menier Chocolate Factory until February 25 2012. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.menierchocolatefactory.com .