Last night, I was very excited to be attending one of the previews for The Bodyguard The Musical – which is anticipated to be the next hot show in London.
I’ll try not to drop in any really huge ‘spoilers’, but if you prefer to see a show with no preconceptions, then read no more…
Ah, I thought so.
West End shows are renowned for their punctual starts, so at 7.32pm, I started wondering if there was something wrong. The audience were happily murmuring away with their fellow attendees, when we were all suddenly startled by a gun-shot! All for effect, of course! Away we were into the world of security operatives and protection agents.
Next up, the delectable Rachel Marron – central character to the show. The production utilises pre-filmed scenes projected onto the stage curtain (and strangely, it really work well), and we open into a list of the number of awards won, the number of albums sold… You’d be forgiven for thinking they were referencing Whitney Houston’s accolades, for this musical, despite being based on The Bodyguard film, does feature a whole host of Houston’s own back catalogue.
Here we come to understand why Frank Farmer is brought into the superstar Marron’s life. The musical is best appreciated if you know (and therefore love) The Bodyguard movie; the scene where Frank saves Rachel from a growing mob of revellers when she stubbornly decided to perform at a poorly designed (from a safety aspect) basement nightclub happens so quickly, you might otherwise overlook it’s importance to the plot. This is of course, the pivotal moment when Rachel stops resisting Frank’s seemingly un-invited presence in her life, and not only understands why he is there, but starts to fall in love with him.
Nevertheless, if you are unfamiliar with the film, it doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the show. The Bodyguard the Musical will also appeal to any Whitney Houston fans, and may even convert any others.
For me, despite the fabulous performance of the Rachel Marron character, the role of her sister, Nikki Marron, played by Debbie Kurrup, shone through as much more intense. In particular, where the two ladies perform ‘Run To You’, both admitting their attraction to and affection for Frank, it really feels like a struggle between the sisters for the limelight, reflecting the basis of their on-stage relationship.
The stage production changes the story slightly from the film, in that Rachel’s pressure to continuously perform is founded in her nomination for two Academy Awards – and therefore a need to promote herself consistently. This was translated from the movie from her performing in her national tour. I must say that this amendment works really well, as the staging transports us into the famous Kodak Theatre, with the glittering Oscar statuette in the background – you almost feel like you’re watching the real thing.
The second-half moves at a faster pace, with the threat of the stalker moving ever closer. I won’t reveal any more – except that the performance of the celebrated song “I Will Always Love You” is truly remarkable.
Go see it soon! The Bodyguard The Musical really is a welcome addition to the West End.