February 4, 2017

Theatre reviews: The Bodyguard, Gloria

I'm going to let Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune speak for me on The Bodyguard, the latest Broadway in Chicago offering.
Read his review. He says everything I was thinking, except for this: He appreciates Deborah Cox's (the Rachel character) singing more than I do. Technically she's good but of course she doesn't hold a candle to Whitney. Not that she has to, really, she just needs to put some soul in her singing. Not an easy task when the script is so bland.
And remember that iconic image from the movie promotion back in the 90s? Well, they recreate that scene here in such a gratuitous way, with so little build-up, that people laughed.
As Chris Jones says, the male lead doesn't sing, and what's up with that? Not only does he not sing, there's a karaoke scene to explain why, where he gets up on stage and sounds like a caged cat.
Then, after the show ends, the cast comes out on stage and does some extra dancing and singing, and the show's villain sings a couple lines to Rachel (his, thankfully, is not a singing part), and he sounds pretty much like the Frank character did in the karaoke scene, only this guy was obviously not trying to do that. This felt like he was given an opportunity to show his chops. Kind of pitiful.
This show has no heart, no emotion, no passion and the stars have no chemistry. So...no stars for The Bodyguard.

Don't waste time with The Bodyguard. Instead, go see Gloria at The Goodman. This play is beautifully acted and directed, with snappy, authentic dialogue, and that's what this play is about: cubicle people at a magazine sniping at each other, caring for each other, figuring out who they are and where they're going and their ambition. A crisis in act one changes everything, and that's all I'll say about that - I would not have wanted any hint about what happens.
Act two is all about whose story it is and who should write the book about it and who should make money off of it.
Act three is short, not truly an act, but the curtain comes down for the set change (people started clapping until the word PAUSE appeared on the curtain). This short act seemed unnecessary. The addition of just a few more lines at the end of act two would have made it a perfect place to end.
But all in all, it's a gripping drama.
3-1/2 stars of five for Gloria.

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