1.12pm, Wednesday 6th March, London City Airport, no gate yet, England
OK Christine – this one’s for you.
The Adelphi is a lovely old theatre on The Strand, and it has been operating in its current Art Deco outfit since 1930. However, like most things in this part of downtown London, what you look at right now is just the surface of the story.
There has been theatrical entertainment of one kind or another at this address on the Strand right back to the early 1800s – everything from acrobats to burlesque to Dickens melodrama of the day. So when Heather Headley explodes into the opening “Queen of the Night” number, riding a rising stage amongst a dazzle of mirrorball strobe light smoke effects, have no doubt that a whole neighbourhood of resident 200-year-old theatre ghosts woke bolt upright! Not sure where this gal has been hiding, but she has got a seriously powerful jackhammer voice that slides easily up into the high soulful notes as well. When she does that minor excursion into an operatic moment, then stops dead and snarls “enough of that” and belts back into the song … you believe it! Whitney Houston definitely owned the film, but Heather Headley takes over where the big screen left off, and she nails the live on stage three dimensional ‘one take only’ Rachel Marron stuff. And I’m not a fan of musicals, so I reckon I’m a tough critic to impress. I was there to see Lloyd Owen on stage, because last time I was in town for work he was in “Blood and Gifts”, and unfortunately it opened two weeks after I left. And got top reviews. You might have seen Lloyd Owen on the telly in Monarch of the Glen – he plays the English long lost half brother that comes back to The Glen, and actually pinched the limelight from the main character in all honesty – which is where we first saw him, glued to our favourite shows back in the Barossa – no theatre to speak of really – Valley.
Oh … sorry … got to leave it there, will finish it off after I get to Edinburgh – just put up our gate number …
5.05pm, Haymarket, Edinburgh
OK folks, safely up north and I’ll finish off that review now.
Lloyd Owen plays the Kevin Costner movie role of the Bodyguard – Frank Farmer – to the recording superstar songstress and does a magic 4 way job with the character. Firstly he gets you believing in the no nonsense ‘do it my way or suffer the consequences’ security expert presence – and looks good in the suit; secondly as the ‘big brother I’m a nice bloke under all that spiky exterior’ that makes life as normal as possible for the superstar’s son Fletcher – played by a surefire star of tomorrow young Caius Duncombe the night I was there. Thirdly, Owen does a top job as the ‘we shouldn’t get involved but I’m giving in to the attraction’ love interest for the superstar whilst keeping the sister at ‘not fair to be in the shadow … again’ arm’s length; and finally – he makes a reasonably good fist of a slowed down country version of the Dolly Parton original ballad made famous all over again ‘I will always love you’ as part of an entertaining karaoke sequence. Oh … nearly forgot … in the closing group dance along sequence of the night, after the bows have been taken, your man has some reasonable ‘gettin down’ moves. At the end of the day, I give the man Lloyd Owen a big wrap – presence, entertaining, and the bloke you want on your side if you get into trouble!
I liked it, and yes I confess … I got up with the rest of the audience on a Wednesday night and sang ‘I want to dance with somebody, wanna feel the heat with somebody …’ You know how it goes. Clapping along and hopping from one foot to the other as rhythmically as possible for a gal with no talent and one knee replacement!
Oh … and just as an added extra, the creepy stalker guy who is trying to kill the superstar is played by a – very fit – Mark Letheren. Who? I hear you ask. Well, he is a favourite of ours from the excellent early days of the made for TV “Wire in the Blood ” where the scripts came straight from the dark stories from Scottish novelist Val Mc Dermid. In that show Mark Letheren plays the switched on but very wayward Detective Kev Geoffries. He’s channeling some of those nasty characters right here in The Bodyguard, and worth keeping an eye on.
OK, I’d best get mobile, I’m off to show four wines to a journo – with food – at Bon Vivant. It’s a dismal damp evening out there – definitely catch a cold weather – so on again with the ten layers and scarf and gloves! See you tomorrow when we’ll be out and about around Edinburgh.