The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre – 28th December 2012

3 Jan

I finally managed to sort out a visit to the newest “film to stage” musical in town a few days ago. The Bodyguard started previews in November and has received mixed reviews. Following the well-known movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Kostner the show tells the story of singer (and superstar) Rachel Marron who is threatened by an unknown stalker and Frank Farmer who is hired to protect her. Most of you will have seen the movie so I won’t go into any more details here. The stage show has changed a few pieces of the storyline – some of which work well and one in particular that I personally don’t like. But I’ll come back to that later (there will be spoilers!).

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Heather Headley stars as Rachel Marron and for me she is the highlight of the show. From the moment we catch the first glimpse of her right until the end of “I wanna dance with somebody” (the show’s uptempo finale) Heather owns the stage. She has the most amazing voice you can think of – not only does she have a power belt, her voice also has a really nice and warm tone. I love to hear her sing. However, beside being a brilliant singer Heather really captures the character of Rachel – extremely sure of herself and used to getting what she wants but in the end just a girl and mother who is scared for her life and the safety of her family.

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Frank Farmer – the bodyguard – is played by Lloyd Owens. The part focuses on acting only (there’s no dancing involved and the tiny bit of singing in one scene doesn’t really count) which works great for Lloyd. Frank is quite an introverted character so the actor playing him needs to have great stage presence to stand up to the outgoing Rachel Marron. And Lloyd Owen simply oozes charisma. The only slight problem I have with Lloyd’s portrayal is that it is hard to notice Frank actually falls in love with Rachel. He just seems too controlled and shows little to no feelings.

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Janet Kumah was on for Nicky Marron and I admit I was a bit disappointed to miss out on Debbie Kurup on my first visit (I just love to see her on stage). But that disappointment vanished as soon as Janet started singing for the first time. She has a wonderful voice and manages to give Nicky a really soft and extremely vulnerable side despite her burning jealousy of her popular sister Rachel. Coming back to the one script change (compared to the movie) I don’t really like so far: Nicky has been reduced to a lovesick girl who longs after Frank Farmer and envies her sister. In the movie it is Nicky who hires the killer. In the stage show she just dwells in jealousy, anger, sadness and maybe a little self-pity but she doesn’t actually do anything. For me that makes the character less interesting.

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The rest of the cast does a great job. Mark Letheren is wonderfully creepy as The Stalker (there is just one bad guy in the stage show) and I have to give a special mention to David Page who gets the chance to show off his dancing abilities as Rory (Rachel’s choreographer). Plus it is fantastic to see Holly James on stage again – she is just stunning and always manages to stand out. However, it is pretty clear that this show is focusing on Rachel, Frank and Nicky.

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For me The Bodyguard is a fabulous Whitney concert with a story mixed in between. I have heard people say that the whole show is lacking on substance and I agree to a certain extend. The story is predictable and the characters are not that well-developed. However, the show is based on a (in my opinion) rather bad movie that was successful because of Whitney Houston and its soundtrack. So anyone who watches The Bodyguard expecting deep and thoughtful theatre (to quote a character from another show) is bound to feel let down. Personally I had the best time watching this show and I’m already sorting out my next visit.

I suggest you give this one a try – if only to see and hear all those songs being performed by such a talented cast.

The Bodyguard is playing at the Adelphi Theatre. For more info and to book tickets visit http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com/.

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7 Responses to “The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre – 28th December 2012”

  1. shez January 6, 2013 at 5:11 pm #

    I must admit I’ve been a little sceptical about this one but a friend has suggested that we go and see it at some point.

    • theatregirl January 8, 2013 at 8:31 am #

      I was expecting nothing and ended up loving it. Going again this weekend – slightly addicted already. Ha!

      • shez January 8, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

        Sometimes I wish that some shows weren’t so addictive… I’d save loads of money 🙂

  2. russell thomas January 9, 2013 at 2:39 am #

    Don’t Go Unless heather is playing as rachel marron ! Major Dissapointment. If Your A Heather Fan They stuck in an understudy’s understudy from the musical esemble . Costumes didn’t fit ,no attention to footwear !!! when would racheal marron wear sketchers sandals with a ball gown but above all the awful! vocal screaming almost unbearable and totaly out of tune !!!,Janet Kumar was her name not even listed as an undertsudy never heard of her ever. check an make shore heather is on !!! i was told now its been previewed for first few weeks she only does a few shows and one weekend show ! dissapointing ! false advertising in a way its like there filling seats and giving customers false expectations !!! the box office will not give u info on when heather is appearing or not, wonder why ? !!! . heather int scheduled for many dates as it is and has been ill for the rest the date she was shceduled to perform at the show i attended she didnt turn up either. Big Name to fill the seats !SADTIMES

    • theatregirl January 9, 2013 at 4:21 am #

      It is clearly stated on the website that Heather is only doing evening performances. She has been off with the flue for several days in a row lately but she is only human! It’s not false advertising!
      I saw Janet as Nicky and she was wonderful.

      I admit it’s disappointing when the person you want to see is off. But this is not Heather – The show – It’s The Bodyguard and like in any musical you have to be prepared to see understudies.

      I’m sorry you didn’t like the show but I strongly object to the false advertising point you make.

  3. Karen January 28, 2013 at 4:41 pm #

    I’m sorry but I agree with Russell Thomas. I booked for a party of 15 people (clients) to attend this musical. I am a long time fan of Hether Headley and was excited to be attending. She wasn’t there and no explanation was given. I specifically went on 24/1 as it was one of the dates she was definitely stating to be appearing on the website. Exceptionally shabby way to treat

    • theatregirl January 28, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      Again, I totally understand it is disappointing to miss out on seeing a specific performer especially when you’ve booked to see that person.
      However, I still don’t think it is false advertising or shabby. Every performer can be off at short notice – it happens at every show. And I think a lot of people don’t realise what a vocally demanding part Rachel Marron is. It is such a tough sing – Heather (and her understudies) make it sound easy but it’s not.

      I have seen the show three times by now and have caught Heather every time. But I wouldn’t be the least bit disappointed if I turned up one evening and Gloria was on because personally I am there to see The Bodyguard.

      If anyone is unhappy because Heather is off I suggest contacting the theatre. Who knows, they might be nice and offer some kind of compensation. Although they are in no way under obligation to do so.

      Out of interested: How was Gloria? I have heard nothing but praise and personally I am looking forward to seeing her in the not too distant future. 🙂

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