Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes
Adelphi Theatre – 16th October 2013
I watched the film The Bodyguard four years ago after my boyfriend discovered that I had never seen it. Since then I haven’t really thought about it. So going into the Adelphi Theatre to see the musical version, I was completely open-minded and not sure what to expect. However I was pleasantly surprised.
Rachel Marron (Beverley Knight) is a singer/actress whose life is threatened by a psychotic fan. Frank Farmer (Tristan Gemmill) is hired as her bodyguard. Unsurprisingly, they fall in love. But it’s not all happily ever after…
The Bodyguard opens suddenly and unexpectedly with a loud gunshot that startles the chattering audience into submission. If this production had been a play, this could well have been the highlight.
But The Bodyguard is a musical, based on Lawrence Kasdan’s original screenplay and featuring well-known Whitney Houston songs such as I Have Nothing, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and the incredibly powerful I Will Always Love You.
The dancing (choreographed by Arthur Pita) adds much to the performance and the dancers themselves are excellent, their costumes contrasting well with the actors’ day-to-day clothing. Scenery is cleverly thought out, particularly Farmer’s family home (which is incredible), although the huge faces of Gemmill and Knight projected onto a screen are a little unnerving (and more than a little unflattering).
Michael Rouse gives a sterling performance as The Stalker, while Michael Matias as Rachel’s son Fletcher is suitably cute and talented. Debbie Kurup (Nicki Marron) manages fairly well when singing with Knight, although she can’t quite compete with the Queen of British Soul (despite being the better actress).
Beverley Knight on the other hand is a singer, not an actress and although she interacts well with Gemmill and Matias, there are times when her acting is cringeworthy. However, Knight’s stage presence and voice cannot be faulted and you can’t deny she’s one hell of a performer.
No matter what you think of The Bodyguard’s storyline or the standard of acting, Beverley Knight really can sing. And that makes this show fantastic.