The Bodyguard surprisingly enough, is based on the 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. Currently starring Alexandra Burke (X Factor winner) as Rachel Marron
and Tristan Gemmill (Casualty, London’s Burning) as Rachel’s bodyguard, Frank Farmer. The show features numerous Whitney Houston classics One Moment in Time, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and predictably, I Will Always Love You.
Rachel, a beautiful singer at the top of her game is receiving death threats from an unknown dangerous stalker so a bodyguard is hired to protect not only her, but her son as well. Rachel although finds his presence restricting but soon comes to realise that she needs Frank not only professionally but falls in love with him as well.
When it opened in 2012 there was a lot of promotion starring Heather Headley in the lead role, who’s voice blew me away. Beverley Knight and Alexandra Burke who have both subsequently played Rachel Marron are both powerhouse divas. When I found out I was going to see the alternative Rachel, Joelle Moses, (x factor, The Voice) I was not at all surprised. Quite a few people had told me that often the lead was unavailable/on holiday/sick and they don’t perform at matinees at all. Ho hum. Does that come under false advertising?
I was also reluctant as film adaptations aren’t favourites of mine, I feel they are a bit contrived and trying to tap a nostalgic cinema audience, or an audience wanting a ‘safe bet’. On occasion I have been proved wrong (Dirty Rotten Scoundels, Ghost) but on this occasion I knew exactly what to expect.
Directed by Thea Sharrock (Sunshine Boys, Equus, The Misanthrope) the book mainly stays faithful to the film apart from adding in more than enough Houston Classics, adding a love triangle and letting the audience know from the beginning who the stalker is by the way of clever lighting techniques designed by Mark Henderson.
I was concerned that the actor playing the lead would try and emulate Whitney Houston to appeal to Houston’s fanbase rather than show off their own amazing talents, but never underestimate an understudy – they could be the stars of tomorrow, and Joelle Moses indeed played her heart out Joelle was comfortable making the role her own.
Tristan Gemmill played the brooding Frank Farmer and I must admit I was disappointed in how the adaptation had cut down Frank’s part, there wasn’t enough time for him to grow on you and make you feel confident about his role.
I got VERY excited when I saw that Richard Lloyd King (Cats, Miss Saigon, Children of Eden)was in the show – why oh why wasn’t a song written into it just for him? He had one line to sing in the finale – one line! But the person who stood out for me was Carole Stennett (Lion King) as the less talented sister Nicki, less talented? Give me a break – Her voice was simply amazing!
The Bodyguard closes on August 29th so if you are a fan of Houston songs or are looking for something easy to watch rush to see it. Tickets are readily available, but there are very good deals on at the moment and also front row tickets are available from the box office on the day of the performance for £25.
Playing at the Aldelphi Theatre, The Strand, London WC2 – currently booking until August 2014.
Performances are 7.30pm each evening except Sunday.
Matinees 3.00pm Wednesday and Saturday.
Nearest tube Charing Cross
Best bus from Victoria Train Station, Number 11
The Bodyguard is embarking on a tour in 2015 – to be honest I think it will fair better regionally than in the West End. Casting is yet to be announced but current dates are:
Southampton – Mayflower Theatre 12 – 28 FEBRUARY 2015
Glasgow – King’s Theatre 4 – 14 MARCH 2015
Aberdeen – His Majesty’s Theatre 17 – 28 MARCH 2015
Newcastle – Theatre Royal 1 – 18 APRIL 2015
Wolverhampton – Grand Theatre 21 APRIL – 2 MAY 2015
Stoke-on-Trent – The Regent Theatre 19 – 30 MAY 2015
Bradford – Alhambra Theatre 2 – 13 JUNE 2015
Cardiff – Wales Millennium Centre 16 – 27 JUNE 2015
What the critics thought:
Have you seen The Bodyguard? Did you like it? I would love to hear your views. Please leave a comment below. If you have more media or links you would like me to add then please email me at email@example.com and I shall be happy to put them in.