There’s not much tension generated in Thea Sharrock’s efficient if bitty production (blame the dialogue and scrappy plotting), and any poignancy in the thwarted love story is killed off by a final feel-good rendition of ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’ guaranteed to send you home happy.
But despite these shortcomings, the overall result proves surprisingly watchable – thanks in no small measure to the compensatory high production values, the Whitney back catalogue, and the warm stage presence (when diva Rachel thaws) of Headley.
There’s enough chemistry between her and Lloyd Owen’s gruff, solid bodyguard Frank Farmer to fuel their affair, and one feels for her sister Nicki (Debbie Kurup) losing out yet again to her stellar sibling.
And, even though it rings as true as the recent ludicrous developments in Homeland, in a nicely ironic touch the initial rendering of ‘I Will Always Love You’ takes place in a karaoke bar – a pretty dire move from the security point of view, but one which whets the appetite for Headley’s subsequent full throttle delivery in this attractively wrapped musical.
Adelphi, Strand, WC2R 0NS
Tube| Charing Cross
Currently booking till 27 April