'The Bodyguard' returns for 2016 with Beverley Knight as Rachel Marron (not performing Mondays or Wednesday matinees).
For anyone who grew up in the late Eighties, Whitney Houston was part of the decade’s hedonistic soundscape – the dynamic rhythms of her songs and that extraordinary undulating voice an instant cue to go wild on the dance floor. With a clutch of number ones to her name she was the obvious candidate for a jukebox musical – so how fortunate it was that the producers already had the film of ‘The Bodyguard’ to base it on. Or was it?
Right from the moment this unashamedly synthetic love story begins, you become aware of the musical as machine – all lights, vibrations, and jangling clichés. Soul singer Beverley Knight has replaced Heather Headley in the role of Rachel Marron, and the pressure is very much on her to prove that the music is going to carry the show.
She brings considerable star power with her – she has performed with Prince and Stevie Wonder among others – but she’s notably far more comfortable in the upper registers of her voice than the lower. Her acting also only seems to operate in two gears – petulant and precocious. Is this going to be enough?
Thankfully for her – and the audience – it is. No scientific experiment has been performed to see how many Whitney Houston numbers any individual can hear without feeling their hips and possibly even their heart-rate shifting, but for this critic it was about five.
This despite the woeful two dimensionality of the story – stalker threatens rock star, bodyguard is hired to protect her, they fall in love – a sort of modern variant on Tarzan and Jane. It’s also in spite of Tristan Gemmill’s performance as the bodyguard, Frank Farmer, which is so plastic it makes Barbie’s Ken look like Laurence Olivier.
And yet – to a degree – bodyguards are meant to be plastic. And there are glimmers throughout Thea Sharrock’s technically highly proficient production that we are going to get what everyone has come for, which is some of the Houston magic. We hear an element of it in the performance of Debbie Kurup – who plays the star’s put-upon sister Nicki – and whose voice swoops effortlessly from velvety low notes to diamond brilliance. And as the action progresses we hear it from Knight, who really starts to relax by the time she performs ‘I’m Every Woman’.
When we get to the closing number ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ the entire audience is rocking out. Terrible script, negligible performances, but great atmosphere – this one will run and run.
By Rachel Halliburton
|Venue name:||Dominion Theatre||Contact:|
268-269 Tottenham Court Road
|Transport:||Tottenham Court Road tube|
|Price:||£20-£95. Runs 2hrs 30mins|
|Event phone:||020 7492 9930|
Average User Rating
3.7 / 5
- 5 star:6
- 4 star:16
- 3 star:4
- 2 star:3
- 1 star:2
I was disappointed that on my visit Beverly Knight wasn't playing the leading role. Her understudy was very good but I booked this show specifically to see the amazing Ms Knight & it wasn't advertised she wouldn't be performing. However this is an excellent show which is surprisingly scary. I saw the production at the Adelphi Theatre & I felt it suited a more intimate theatre than the cavernous Dominion.
Wow! Just wow! Beverley Knight leads an amazing cast in this great production, I had goosebumps, I had tears and I had the urge to sing and dance in the isles. I could not think of anyone better to take on the role in the West End that Beverley Knight, so many Whitney classics were incorporated into the show that bring back so many memories for everyone which made the experience all the more enjoyable. Thank you to the whole team behind this production for such an enjoyable night.xx
I was lucky enough to win tickets for a preview in July 2016 and my friend and I absolutely loved it. We are big fans of the film and the show didn't disappoint Beverley Knight and Rachel John were outstanding vocalists. I would definitely recommend the show
Having never been the key demographic for the original film, I was interested to see the live musical version. Yes, Beverley Knight wasn't playing, the accents were on shaky ground and there were numerous plot holes. However, most of the audience weren't expecting Citizen Kane. The characters were likeable and the main villain exuded menace. The medley of Whitney Houston songs in this production underlines what an influential recording artist she was. It was wonderful to see how much the cast and audience enjoyed the show with a euphoric closing rendition of 'I Want to Dance with Somebody'. Everyone was on their feet.
As a big fan of the film I was really looking forward to the theatre production, and deliberately didn't read any reviews before we went. We went on a Tuesday (from the comments below, somewhat luckily) and so saw Beverly Knight in all of her splendor. In the first half there is some really plastic, and/or over the top acting from the actor playing Frank Beverly respectively, and I agree with the lady below about the cringe inducing American accents.
However! I am no expert at all when it comes to acting but the second half seemed to morph into a better directed, more natural, believable performance, and throughout the whole evening the songs were brilliant, with fantastic production. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and was up on my feet dancing with the rest of the stalls by the end. Even my boyfriend who hasn't ever seen the film was swept away and loved it. In fact he was already saying how much he was enjoying it by the interval, maybe not having the film to compare it to was a benefit for him.
All in all I really enjoyed the whole evening and left on a real high. I would recommend to anyone looking for an enjoyable night out :)
I took my mum on Monday night and she absolutely loved it! The music was fab! Would highly recommend.
just back from seeing the show and i loved it. Alexandra Burke was outstanding, the songs were great. i was really impressed with the set and the slick changes both to that and the costumes. If you get a chance go and see it
I really enjoyed the show.I didn't get to see Beverly Knight on the night I went, but this didn't detract from my enjoyment at all. I did feel there was perhaps something missing but I can't put my finger on it. It may just have been the absence of Whitney Houston herself.
The Bodyguard is definitely worth seeing. Beverly Knight is excellent, the costumes are incredible and the dancing is uplifting. Well worth seeing.
I enjoyed the movie so wasn't sure I would like the show. Really loved it , very well done and the singing was first class, I also thought the set was good. The seats were good and received the tickets with no problems
I'm not a musical fan at all. I had to be dragged along to this. BUT . . .what a pleasant surprise. The plot isn't amazing and is a bit cheesy (I hadn't seen the film), but that's often the case with musicals. The whole thing stands or falls on whether you like the music I suppose - and Whitney's hits come thick and fast. I think it was Joelle Moses playing the lead (Thurs 3rd October - certainly wasn't Beverley Knight) - but I couldn't care less. She sang amazingly well. The 'big' number on the rising podium was spot on. There is a laugh or two along the way - and the set is as good as a set can be (the set at the Academy Award ceremony is simple, yet brilliant), and a very clever use of slient slow-mo in a disco scene. We did have the best seats (centre stalls row F) - which always adds how much a show like this come across. I don't see how anyone could rate this low - unless they hate the music of Whitney Houston fans - and in that case why are they going? A good, easy, uplifting and fun night out. Not for theatre snobs I guess (based on some reviews), but I, for one, left feeling very entertained.
I was really dissapointed about singing and acting. The whole performance was below the expectations.
First half is slow, no belting out of numbers, stage graphics out of sync and dated. Doesn't strutt when on stage, but looks at her shoes? What's that about! You're supposed to be an established star. Only until the last song of the first act does it start to pick up. Note to sound technician - turn her mic up! Second half much better. Seriously lacks tone and warmth though. Not worth the money. Ghost FAR BETTER!
Don't Go Unless heather is playing as rachel marron ! Major Dissapointment. If Your A Heather Fan They stuck in an understudy's understudy from the musical esemble . Costumes didn't fit ,but above all the awful! vocal scraeming almost unbearable and totaly out of tune !!!,Janet Kumar was her name not even listed as an undertsudy never heard of her ever. check an make shore heather is on !!! i was told now its been previewed for first few weeks she only does a few shows and one weekend show ! dissapointing ! false advertising in a way its like there filling seats and giving customers false expectations !!!
The review is spot on! I waited so long to see this and while it was the most amazing set I have seen in a musical (they did have to stop the show 3 times as the set wouldn't move...disaster) the acting was beyond bad. The character of Rachel is extremely unlikeable and Frank is so monotone. I want to like it, I really do....but the money and time seems to have all gone to the set and not into the script. Ohhh and Rachel wears the same jeans in about 6 scenes...that annoyed the crap outta me! No metal dress, just those jeans!!!
What can I say a wonderful musical and at a price that everyone can afford. Do yourself a faver an see this must see musical as soon as possible. FANTASTIC !!!!!!
I couldn't agree more with The Guardian and Time Out's review. I saw during preview period and both my friend and myself were not impressed. The show and performers are very much let down by the book, there isn't the tension that should be there, the iconic outfit featured in the marketing and advertising on the programme cover doesn't even feature in the show. Was very disappointing but fantastic individual performances.
This could be the surprise winner of this years new show openings. I think a star is about to be born in Heather Headley - book! But try to see her