Heather Headley, you can breathe a sigh of relief. The star of the new stage musical version of Whitney Houston’s crowning moment on the big screen has been spared the wrath of the critics. In fact, it seems that her decision to return to musical theatre after a break of 12 years seem to have been a wise one, as she is described in The Telegraph’s review as being “at least as fine a singer as Houston in her heyday, if not even better.” She looked the part as well, according to Charles Spencer, who noted her “legs that go on forever” as well as the “succession of dazzling, figure hugging costumes” as well as her “sassy stage presence.”
Headley might have side-stepped the criticism, however, but the play itself did not. Michael Billington, for The Guardian, wrote that “although the show is staged with enormous technical efficiency, it is one more example of the necrophiliac musical morbidly attracted to a cinematic corpse.” The central storyline of the play – the relationship between the singer and the bodyguard (played by Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the original movie) – is, itself pretty ludicrous, according to Billington, who walked away from the performance having decided “I wouldn't hire this guy [the bodyguard] to supervise a kids' Christmas outing.”
Other phrases bandied about in reference to the new production have ranged from “dross with gloss” (The Telegraph) and “a pumpy, undemanding evening” and all in all, it’s not looking good for this lumpen attempt to cash in on Whitney Houston’s recent death.
An energetic cast and some terrific music make up for the rather hackneyed plot of...