The latest company of Les Miserables made their debut at the Queen’s Theatre last night, putting in what the audience widely agreed was, unsurprisingly, a fantastic performance and continuing the winning streak the musical has been on for the past 28 years. Casting news is generally received as a big deal by theatre fans and there was a recent announcement which really sparked an interest, concerning film-to-stage musical The Bodyguard.
The Bodyguard premiered at the West End venue of the Adelphi Theatre on 5th December 2012, with Tony and Grammy Award-winner Heather Headley starring as singer Rachel Marron – the role that Whitney Houston made famous in the original 1992 film. Lloyd Owen stars opposite Headley as the show’s leading man, secret service agent-turned bodyguard Frank Farmer, played by Kevin Costner in the film. The talented pair led the musical to a Best New Musical award in the 2013 Whatsonstage.com Awards, but come September, the responsibility passes to Beverley Knight and Tristan Gemmill as they join the cast in Headley and Owen’s principal roles.
Soul singer Beverley Knight is famous for such hit songs as ‘Shoulda Woulda Coulda’, ‘Keep This Fire Burning’, ‘Piece of My Heart’, ‘Gold’ and ‘Greatest Day’. She has sold over a million albums in the UK to date, and having more than succeeded in the music industry, she is now taking on the challenge of the stage. Knight will make her West End debut when she joins The Bodyguard, recently revealing that she feels it to be “somewhat challenging and exciting” to take on the ‘iconic’ role of Rachel Marron in her first West End experience.
Tristan Gemmill is best known for his television role as Adam Trueman in the BBC medical drama Casualty. In addition to this, and other small roles in TV programmes such as Eastenders, The Bill and Distant Shores, he has previously performed on the stage, with his theatre credits including A Streetcar Named Desire, Dangerous Corner and Henry V.
Original cast member Debbie Kurup continues in her role as side-lined sister Nicki Marron, while also joining the show on 9th September 2013 alongside Knight and Gemmill are Richard Lloyd King as Bill Devaney, Stephen Marcus as Tony, Dominic Taylor as Sy Spector, Michael Rouse as Stalker and Stuart Reid as Ray Court. Comprising the ensemble team are Gareth Andrews, Kimball Armes, Christopher Birch, Hannah Fairclough, Robert Gill, Nicky Griffiths, Ben Harrold, Jamie Hughes-Ward, Alex Jackson, Genesis Lynea, Fergal McGoff, Sara Morley, David O’Mahoney, Stuart Rogers, Kyle Seeley, Danielle Steers, Katy Stredder and Christopher Terry, with Joelle Moses as the understudy to lead actress Knight. Some may remember Moses for her previous TV appearances on The X Factor and The Voice.
The Bodyguard, which is one of a recent number of musicals adapted from popular films, has managed to make the transition from screen to stage with great success, a feat recognised in the news that booking has been extended at the Adelphi Theatre until 8th March 2014. The fresh intake of talent can only help it to continue that success. I look ahead with interest to see how Beverley Knight handles the challenge of theatre and what she and Gemmill can do with their respective roles as they bring to life the classic love story between a singing superstar and her bodyguard.
By Julie Robinson (@missjulie25)
Tuesday 18th June 2013