After six years of planning The Bodyguard Musical, written by Alexandra Dinelaris as produced by Michael Harrison debuted in Londons West End in November 2012. The show is based on the 1992 film of the same named that featured Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston as its stars. is based on the 1992 film of the same name.
Rewritten in the present day and given a modern twist, the focus of the story shifts its focus from that of The Bodyguard, Frank to the character of Rachel Marron – a multi platinum selling and award winning star.
After closing its doors at the Adelphi in London in August 2014, The Bodyguard Musical commenced its UK tour in February 2014.
For me The Bodyguard is one of those movies that just seems to make up the chick flick survival pack: Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, Grease, The Bodyguard and it can sometimes be quite disconcerting when you learn that one of your favourite films is going to made into a stage show (I’m looking at you Dirty Dancing). Surprisingly The Bodyguard is a film that easily lends itself so easily to being a musical. The inclusion of some of Whitney’s most iconic hits makes for an easy transition from blockbuster film to West End musical.
With such iconic hits and such a strong leading lady in the form of Houston, the role of Rachel Marron would surely provide casting agents some big boots to fill both in terms of stage charisma and a powerhouse of a voice.
Alexandra Burke reprised the role of Rachel following on from previous “Rachel” Beverley Knight. With a string of hits under her belt after winning the X Factor in 2008, Alexandra was known for her delivery of big ballads wow’d the judges and audience members alike with her renditions of some of Whitney’s biggest hits – she even moved Cheryl Fernandez-Versini to to tears when she initially auditioned with Saving All My Love For You.
Sashaying into the leading lady role for the Stoke leg of the tour is former Pop Idol finalist Zoe Birkett. After making it through to the finals of the first season of the ITV show alongside Gareth Gates and the eventual winner Will Young, Zoe went on to pursue a solo career in pop music and has since performed on the West End in the box office hit “Thriller”.
Birketts performance as Rachel is phenomenal. I had no qualms when she was announced as the lead for Stoke that she would deliver the role vocally as I remembered her from her Pop Idol days but from the performance of How Will I Know and each song thereafter I had goosebumps and for the finale of I Will Always Love You, the trademark song for this film, I felt the familiar sensation of burning tears behind the eyeballs. Musically her delivery as Rachel was flawless but music aside her performance was something I really didn’t expect. Birkett had the walk like Houston, the sass of Houston and her voice when talking embodied that Houston twang.
With both Alexandra and Zoe admittedly being Houston fans with lungs to rival the late Ms H, you’re guaranteed musical performances that easily lives up to any expectations instilled in you by original film. Accompanied by an amazing live band and with the addition of further songs from Houstons back catalogue (including Run to You, All at Once, I’m Every Woman, All the Man I Need) the music of the show takes centre stage in a musical celebration of the stars biggest hits.
The onscreen chemistry between Rachel (Zoe Birkett) and Frank (Stuart Reid) is what makes the original Bodyguard movie and that chemistry is duplicated on screen during the show, especially in the tender moments between the pair. The show stopping moment for me (other than the performance of I Will Always Love You) is the iconic scene where Frank carries Rachel from the stage. That right there was a theatre-gasm moment that brought the goosebumps back with a vengeance.
As well as being a successful and entertaining adaptation of a classic film, The Bodyguard Musical is also a moving tribute to a powerhouse of the music world. Whitney Houstons hits stand the test of time and are still as relevant today as they were twenty years ago.
The Bodyguard Musical will be running at the Regent Theatre until Saturday 30th May. Tickets are available online or by contacting the box office direct.