A whole lot of hype for a show which though had stunning vocal performances, lacked so much in keeping my interest.
The Bodyguard had never been at the top of my list of shows to see. This is of no disrespect to the show, of course, but it had never appealed to me. Jukebox musicals aren’t a favourite of mine, and there were more shows in the West End I was more inclined to see. Of course, I couldn’t turn down the £15 front row tickets TodayTix had for me, so I went along with my friend and fellow blogger Conor to see it.
The show is based on the 1992 box-office smash (but critically panned) film of the same name, starring Whitney Houston. The show is an adaptation of this, and uses all Whitney songs. This, for me, is what I perhaps didn’t enjoy about the show – the insertion of the songs. I like Whitney – I wouldn’t say I’m a massive fan – and I enjoy her songs, who doesn’t? But at times during the show it felt as if they were inserted purely to appease the audience, who naturally were (pretty drunk) fans of Whitney, as opposed to excited to see a piece of theatre.
Obviously, the reason a lot of the songs were inserted was because the lead role of Rachel (Beverly Knight) is a singer, so we see the songs as if they were sang at a concert. In fact, only two members of the cast actually sung during the entire body of the show (excepting the finale): Knight, and Rachel John, who plays Rachel’s sister Nikki. Though both delivered phenomenal vocals, the lack of large cast numbers was sorely missed by me.
The venue itself, the Dominion theatre, is an interesting one for this show. Having previously housed Queen musical We Will Rock You, the staging is pretty large, and feels almost like an arena. This works for the show, which I feel is split into two genres: half-concert and half film-thriller, and we see elements of the cinematic in the production. For example, projections are used to accompany some songs or add to the dialogue, such as ‘The Stalker’ preparing ways to find/kill Rachel. I am still undecided as to whether I enjoyed these additions.
The plot line could do with a lot of work, though of course it is based on the film. Characters felt undeveloped despite the amount of time we spent with them. I would love to have found out more about The Stalker and why he was doing what he was dong. Additionally, the relationship between Rachel and her bodyguard, Frank, felt so strained and awkward. Personally, I could not justify her singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ as he walked away – it just felt a bit too much for what seemed like a few kisses.
Overall, the show was cheesy and cliche. A piece of theatre engineered to make money because of its name, knowing that its fan-base of 40-somethings would not let them down. I am tired of seeing films made into theatre with no care into how they can be different or improved.
My favourite character of the show has to be Fletcher, Rachel’s 10-year-old son. He was cute and cool, and all kinds of sassy in the finale number. I expect big things to come from him in the future.If you want to see the show, see it purely for Fletcher, and Knight/John’s vocals. Everything else is a bit rubbish.
Have I offended anyone? Have you seen the show and enjoyed it? Let me know your thoughts!