Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bodyguard - the Musical!

I'm not going to bang on about every film or musical I see, but I noticed there weren't many online reviews of The Bodyguard musical, so I thought I'd review it myself! (I saw it last night.)
I actually hadn't seen the original movie, so I decided to catch up on it the weekend before watching the musical. I wasn't that impressed by the movie, to be honest. I found Whitney's character a bit unengaging and unlikeable, and I couldn't see the point of not really playing any of the songs properly.
The musical is a brilliant idea. It solidifies the film and makes it work, and it's a great showcase for Whitney's best songs - all played in their entirety. 
It's not a perfect musical by any means. A few quieter moments really drag, and you can hear the audience getting restless. The lead actress - Heather Hedley - never really engages with the audience and her acting and singing aren't quite pitch-perfect, so even when tragedy strikes, some of the audience members meanly sniggered! I mean, even slightly bitchy, stand-offish characters could make the audience like them - with a cheeky nod or wink - but our lady/the writing didn't go for this.
I tell you who *did* engage with the audience: the lady who played Whitney's sister (yes I know I'm mixing up the names here lol). A fantastic, soaring voice, beautiful lady - I'm pretty sure everyone in the audience wondered what it'd be like if the roles were cast differently.
I also found the main lady's vocal range to be occasionally too low for Whitney.
On the plus side, it's a great story, told well - and I loved the slo-mo stalker bits in one of the musical numbers - inspired. 
But really, we all went to see I Will Always Love You, and wow, the main lady did not let us down. I criticised her voice in this musical - and yes, she did fudge/avoid certain notes - but I can't really fault her performance of Whitney's trademark song. Truly magnificent. 
And it didn't end there! I guessed this would happen, but after the applause for the cast, there was an extra musical number - I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Everyone in the audience is still on their feet from the standing ovation, and now everyone starts dancing! It is *so* much fun, as each main actor comes on and really lets rip on the song (the old guy, the little kid - so cool), and there's even a bit of a feelgood factor, as dead/separated characters are reunited with the cast for the singalong!
I love musicals like this. You go in, not sure you're going to like it, but it really grabs you and hooks you in and presses all the right buttons. Even if this musical isn't quite perfect, there are moments - the finale in particular - that really make it completely worthwhile. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Comics Bulletin - 2012 panels & Spandex 7 reaction!

I only just spotted this! A '2012 review in Panels' on the Comics Bulletin site - and they included a Spandex panel, which is cool!

I also just spotted on there a review of Spandex 7! I've been badgering the reviewer Kelvin to let me know when the review went up - and didn't realise it was already there, a bit buried away! It's here (down a bit):

I've known the reviewer for a long time now! He's reviewed my O Men comics pretty much from the start, and I can pretty much always guaranteed getting a fairly positive review from him when I send him comic.
The review confused me a bit, as the majority of it seems fairly negative, but the issue still gets a 4 out of 5!
I can see where Kelvin is coming from in some ways, and I was very aware that issue 7 would not go in a direction that people were expecting. Instead of going down a 'dark Phoenix' route, I went in a more character-based route. I felt like Spandex 6 was the climax and issue 7 was the fall-out - almost the epilogue/wrap-up.
I think when you go in the direction that I went in with Diva, you have to ask yourself 'where do I take this from here?' and of course, there aren't many places you can take it! Which is partly why I decided to end the series.
But I do think Spandex is a series where you pick up a lot from reading between the lines.
There are some little side comments which hint at what Diva's up to when she's not centre-stage. I also say quite a few things about Diva and what she's become. You see, really, she's no different. 
Personally, I do feel that even though it's a 'quiet' issue, it has some very powerful moments - Alicia v Ms Fantastic, the discussion about homosexuality & religion at the HQ, Isabelle's appearance, and maybe most powerful of all (in my mind), the scene between the priest and God.
I wanted Spandex 7 to be an under-stated issue, and I wanted to subvert people's expecatations, but I do hope people still find it powerful in its own way. Hopefully, Spandex is a series you can re-read and pick up different things with.
And don't forget, there's still one issue left, and the story of Diva (and Isabelle) is far from over...