This musical needs no introduction and is based on the 1992 film, Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner of the same name. The show tells of superstar Rachel Marron who is being stalked and her bodyguard Frank Farmer who after a rocky start manages to crack Rachel’s shell and they grow closer as the stalker draws in.
The show uses Whitney songs from the film as well as choosing others from her wide back catalogue, however unlike many jukebox musicals the songs don’t feel shoehorned in. Part of this is down to the fact that at times the character of Rachel can simply deliver a Whitney song as a performance she is giving, but even when doing so they are fitting and in context.
The role of Rachel Marron was played by the alternate, Carole Stennett on the night I attended. This part is a huge sing, with the show containing a varied catalogue of Whitney Houston songs. Carole managed to deliver them with apparent ease. Carole seemed at home in the more natural and tender scenes such as her appearance at the karaoke bar or her simply sitting and singing at the piano rather than the big performance numbers. The chemistry between her and Frank Farmer, played by Ben Richards was clearly present and Ben pitched his interpretation perfectly between steely bodyguard refusing to let anyone in and someone who really grows to care for Rachel and her family.
Rachel John, played Rachel’s sister, Nicki Marron who falls for Frank. I would have liked to hear more of Rachel’s powerhouse voice however the numbers she did deliver were tender and helped the audience understand not only Nicki herself but also the person behind the superstar Rachel Marron. Rachel’s son, Fletcher was played by Max Fincham and he is a star in the making. He not only was easily believable as Rachel’s son but also had a huge amount of charisma and fitted in perfectly with the ensemble in his dance number.
This show is absolutely bursting with energy. The choreography is perfect for this show and you easily believed that the ensemble were backing dancers to Rachel Marron. The frequent lifts, high kicks and scantily clad dancers meant that there was always somewhere to look in the huge production numbers and every time the ensemble were on stage they danced the choreography with huge enthusiasm.
A final mention must go to the technical side. The lighting was a feat in itself and the sound balance was perfect, no easy feat considering one moment Carole is belting out Queen of the Night and the next a tender moment between Carole, Rachel and Fletcher. The large set enhanced the production yet cleverly allowed intimate moments when needed. Combined, they all sit together to enhance this spectacle of a show.
This is never going to be a show where you leave feeling changed or empowered but it is a show you will simply enjoy if you sit back (or even stand up and dance for the finale) and simply enjoy it for what it is.
Review by Sarah McPartlan
Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge; what they don’t expect is to fall in love. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a whole host of irresistible classics including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I’m Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.
Based on Lawrence Kasdan’s 1992 Oscar nominated Warner Bros. film, Thea Sharrock’s production of The Bodyguard has book by Alex Dinelaris. With designs by Tim Hatley, lighting by Mark Henderson, sound by Richard Brooker, video designs by Duncan McLean, choreography by Karen Bruce, orchestrations by Chris Egan, musical supervision by Richard Beadle and production musical supervision by Mike Dixon, The Bodyguard is produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian.
268-269 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T 7AQ