Tag Archives: The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard – Uk Tour

8 Sep

After a two-year run in the West End the well-known screen to stage adaption The Bodyguard is currently on UK Tour.

I caught the show in Birmingham after watching it several times during its first year in the West End. The Bodyguard has always been about the songs, there’s no denying that. The show sells because the audience wants to hear all those popular Whitney tunes. So with that in mind I can’t fault the creative for reducing the tour production to a concert with some random scenes thrown in. The Bodyguard has never had a deep story but to me it feels like the last bits of proper narrative have been taken out of the tour production only to add even more songs turning the whole show into a two hours tribute concert.

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Zoe Birkett stepped into “Whitney’s shoes” at my performance and she sure knew how to get the audience on her side. Her voice is powerful and her energy on stage is infectious. Acting wise her Rachel Marron lacks depth in my opinion but then there is not much left in the script to allow proper character development. Rachel Marron goes from “bitchy pop singer” to “scared woman” to “sweet lover” to “heartbroken sister” in the blink of an eye.

Stuart Reid plays Frank Farmer – the bodyguard – with an almost stoic calmness. And while he sure has the stage presence he too is given little chance to show the audience more than a glimpse of Frank’s personality. His take on “I will always love you” wins hands down for the most hilariously awkward rendition of that song in history though and is one of the few moments in the show where he actually gets to stand out. Most of the time he is nothing more than a side figure – only there to exchange a line or two with Rachel Marron before the next song.

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Melissa James is likeable as Nicki Marron and “Run to you” with Zoe Birkett is one of the truly glorious moments of the show. But just like anyone else apart from Rachel Marron the character is left standing in a corner with no chance to develop. Sadly this meant I felt little sympathy for Nicki and her tragic end.

The rest of the cast does a fine job with the material they have been given. Mike Denman is suitably evil as The Stalker and one has to give him credit for spending half the show lurking around on stage with no shirt and actually making this look scary. I do not agree with cutting The Stalker’s song in this production as it takes away from yet another supporting role and makes the show even more into a Rachel Marron solo concert. However, Mike provides some of the few truly gripping moments in the show and gets the chance to let out his inner “psycho” which – judging by the audience’s reaction – he is doing with much success.

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All in all the show is doing well giving the general public what they want. After all the audience expects Whitney songs when they book tickets for The Bodyguard and Whitney songs is what they get. And the fact that the story has been lost on the way means little when everyone leaves the theatre with a smile on their face.

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The Bodyguard is continuing to tour the UK. For more info and to book tickets go to http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com/.

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 2

24 Jun

Saturday 22nd June 2013

Once, Wicked, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables, Phantom of the Opera, Top Hat, Matilda, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Jersey Boys, A Chorus Line, Rock of Ages

West End Live 2013 – Photo Feature Part 1

24 Jun

Sound Check – Friday 21st June 2013

Jersey Boys, We will rock you, The Bodyguard, Wicked, Top Hat, Billy Elliot, Les Miserables

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/.