Writer: Lawrence Kasdan
Musical Director: Michael Riley
Vocal Arrangements: Mike Dixon
Director: Thea Sharrock
Reviewer: Francesca Parker
The 90s classic film, starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Huston, was a box-office smash hit and the second-highest grossing film of 1992. In the public’s opinion, it was a total showstopper, and its soundtrack continues to prove incredibly popular today. Despite this, it was poorly received by critics and it received a number of negative reviews, it even was nominated for seven Golden Raspberry Awards. Arguably the same could be said for this production, it may very well be heralded by the audiences, but after being nominated for four Olivier Awards and not winning, there’s potentially something missing.
The story centres around the life of six-time Grammy award-winning vocalist, single mother and celebrity icon: Rachel Mannon (Alexandra Burke). After receiving letters of a disturbing nature, the threat presented to her life and to her family begins to escalate, and she is required her to hire a new security detail, Frank Farmer (Benoit Marechel). As the plot thickens, the constant interaction and close proximity between the two protagonists results in romantic complications and a battle between love and professionalism is fought.
Beth Eden’s casting of this production couldn’t have been any more wayward. The ensemble lacked charisma; the dialogue delivered in a rather lacklustre fashion, and at no point was the audience transported to another place – we remained firmly in the theatre, desperately trying to suspend disbelief. Marechel’s performance as Farmer was somewhat unbelievable, and although as a bodyguard you are expected to maintain a certain level of professionalism, his performance was just a little too rigid. As a result of this, there was very little room for chemistry and sadly, Burke’s portrayal of Mannon quite literally didn’t hit the high notes.
Curiously, a fundamental element of the plot was altered and as such the production lacked any sort of twist. Mannon’s stalker was not just an obsessive fan, he actively wanted to harm her. Consequently, the relationship between sisters was less compelling than in the film. Obscurely the director (Sharrock) seemed determined to over emphasise the stalker’s physical prowess by insisting he present himself topless for most of the show – causing the audience to laugh in all the wrong places. The only redeeming feature of this production was its set design, and even that employed garish techniques in an attempt to grab the audience’s attention.
‘All at Once’ you’ll find yourself at the end of the production and will be left feeling ‘So Emotional’ due to the fact that, at that ‘One Moment in Time’, you realise you’ve been short changed.
Reviewed on Wednesday 28th March 2019 | Image: Paul Coltas