The Bodyguard – The Musical…my must see!

8 Dec

 

 

Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.28.01

Often it is the conversion from stage to screen, which is the success (Warhorse, Evita and hopefully Les Mis), and sometimes converting something from screen to stage can go wrong…very wrong (Dirty Dancing). So you can understand my skepticism when going to one of the preview nights of The Bodyguard – The Musical. In the back of my mind I feared a cheesy homage to Whitney and a poor stage version lifted from one of my much-loved films, but I’m pleased to report no such thing.

 

Directed by one of London theatre’s brightest stars Thea Sharrock (The Misanthrope) the stage version of The Bodyguard stays true to the films roots but brings an innovative and exciting new twist to the tale and how it is set. The setting, was one of the most impressive elements. It Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.30.14crosses the boundary between theatre and film, combining previously filmed montages and live action which allow for the expert scene changes to keep the story’s momentum throughout – I found myself trying to work out how Heather Hadley’s Rachel Marron appears in one door and a minute later manages to make a costume change and appear at the top of the set, with breath to spare. I realize the trickery of this, is the engagement the audience has with the characters filling in the time between these stage/costume changes, that time just flies by through what is probably a fair few verses of one of The Bodyguard’s unforgettable soundtrack.

 

One particularly impressive piece of set is Frank Farmers fathers house – you remember from the film, his retreat in the snow, far far away from LA LA Land. As if out of nowhere, an (almost) full sized log cabin appears and dominates the stage, rotates and provides a fitting setting for the start of the third act of this story. A spectacle that really must be applauded.

 

But it’s not just the set that keeps the audience wanting more, the performances of all the cast members are top notch. The Bodyguard has one of the most iconic soundtracks of the last fifty years and with everyone in the audience knowing the majority of the songs back to back, the pressure is well and truly on. So for Heather Hadley taking on the iconic role of Rachel Marron, daunting is probably one of the words that would describe this prospect. But Hadley, manages to embody this character with such ease and effortlessness that she deserves all the praise Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.31.03she gets for being one of theatre-lands “next big things”. Barely opening her mouth she manages to hit some of the highest and most powerful notes, and the finale of I Will Always Love You is a fitting crescendo which demands a standing ovation at every performance.  But its not all about her singing, Hadley manages to act the part as if in front of the camera, a cool, understated and relaxed performance, which makes this musical something far removed from some of the hammed up “hen do” musicals which scatter London’s West End.

 

As her bodyguard, RADA trained Lloyd Owen is equally as cool if not as relaxed in the role as Hadley. With no singing required (well, apart from one little gem), his stern portrayal draws comparisons with Kevin Costner’s original Frank Farmer, but the familiarity is forgivable given the characters lack of ability to be anything other than what is required. Never the less, the chemistry between Owen and Hadley is clear and in the encore, where the actors truly let loose, you can definitely see that the two leads have had a blast bringing these characters to life.

 

Additional mention must go to Debbie Kurrup as Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sibling in the shadows, if anyone was to have a talent rivaling Rachel Marron, its her sister. The duet of Run to You quite easily brings a tear to your eye as it is sung on a rollercoaster of amazing harmonies and fully believable passion from both the characters for Frank Farmer – one of the highlights of the entire set list.  You feel the pain of unrequited love for Nicki and I’m sure anyone who has been in the background of an over achieving sister or brother will easily relate to this character.

 

There are still elements of this show that can be tightened up, the dancing for example is not always as ‘on point’ as it could be, and the larger Screen Shot 2012-12-08 at 11.30.38ensemble cast feels at times that they are still finding their feet, but if this run continues for a considerable amount of time, this show has the ability to become a very well oiled machine, but is still quite obviously in its embryonic stages. Additionally, there is a lack of magic in the costume department. I was excited to see Queen of the Night performed complete with metal head-dress and matching outfit – something I was hoping to be replicated from the film, however I was faced with tacky looking corsets and jeans – slightly disappointing. However to the show’s defense I was quickly reminded that Heather Hadley does have around thirty costume changes throughout the show itself, so a few dodgy but easily wearable items can be forgiven…ah the magic of the theatre.

 

Overall The Bodyguard The Musical provides strong musical theatre performances as they should be, staging so bafflingly clever you could be still trying to work it out days later and a show which is the perfect go to on a night out with the girls (and boys) and a brilliant date night! Whitney really would be proud.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: