The Bodyguard at The Orchard Theatre
The Bodyguard is possibly known as one of the most iconic love stories in cinema history but how does it translate to stage? The musical, like the film, tells of Rachel Marron who is a star in her prime. Rachel however has a stalker with dangerous intentions. Despite Rachel’s protests a Bodyguard in the form of Frank Farmer is hired and as they both let their guard down the sparks of romance begin to fly.
Due to Whitney Huston a huge focus of The Bodyguard is the music and the brilliance of the songs within the show cannot be denied. The fact that Rachel Marron is a singer really helps to weave some of the music into the narrative and the songs didn’t ever feel forced. The show also relies on the actress playing Rachel Marron being able to live up to Whitney Huston vocally. Alexandra Burke took on the role in Dartford and whilst there is no doubt that she can really sing I often felt that at times she was under-singing he role slightly, right until the the end where she really showed what she could do.
I also really enjoyed Burke’s portrayal of Marron and the acting part of the role seemed to come naturally to her. She had lovely chemistry with Ben Lewis who was playing Frank Farmer, her Bodyguard. Lewis had just the right amount of smouldering aloofness combined with charisma to ensure he really got the audience on side.
The storyline is mainly focused around Marron and Farmer and consequently other sub plots come across as under developed. For example Marron’s relationship with her sister Nicki features throughout the show but there is not enough depth to this element for the audience to understand who they should be rooting for and why, or indeed if it really matters. Despite this Emmy Willow who played Nicki really brought the house down with her rendition of ‘Saving All My Love For You,’ and left me wishing I could hear more of her.
I must also mention the choreography. Due to Marron being a singer there were moments of the show where you felt like you were at a gig and the ensemble dancers really helped capture this vibe. Karen Bruce’s choreography was relevant and really brought this gig like feeling to the fore. This combined with Mark Henderson’s jaw dropping lighting design meant that these big moments were some of my favourite within the show.
The Bodyguard is a show which has all of the right ingredients, a great soundtrack, big gig like moments and quieter, more romantic scenes. It is a show with heart despite a few holes in the book!
The Bodyguard is playing at the Orchard Theatre until 18th January 2020. To find out more about the show and book tickets visit their website.