The Bodyguard - UK Tour Review

 The Bodyguard is arguably one of the most classic film hits of the 90's. Wowing audiences, the film stars Whitney Houston as a performer at the height of her game as she juggles parenthood, the spotlight, and stalkers. After being appointed a bodyguard to protect her against danger, she must let her guard down in order to truly be looked after. Filled with iconic Whitney songs that audiences then and now adore, it's a sure fire hit to transfer to the stage. 

Currently embarking on a UK tour, The Bodyguard took to the Mayflower Theatre stage in Southampton to entice and entertain. 

The show opens as it hopes to go on. You are introduced to Rachel Marron, the leading lady who is winning awards, hearts, and everything in between as she becomes a household name that everyone seems to adore. It's nothing short of one of the best opening numbers I have seen. With a huge show-stopper of a number including pyrotechnics, dancers, a wonderful front-woman, and effects that leave you feeling like you are in for a treat. But starting off with your best means that it's a struggle at times for the momentum to carry on as the story unfolds. 

As you meet the characters and the story plays out, you are introduced to Frank Farmer, the bodyguard tasked with keeping Marron safe. But once he is stuck in not only a love triangle with Marron and her sister Nicki, but also the bustle of working with famous celebrities, he must work as hard as he can to ensure that a sinister stalker causes no harm to his client whilst attempting to maintain professionalism against the wishes of his heart. The stage adaptation is as true to the original screenplay as it can be. Whilst you are at times cringing due to some of the slightly stilted dialogue on stage, and frankly confusing projections used as costume change opportunities, you also have to remember that at the heart of this show is a 1992 script that most of the audience love and adore (and probably know by heart). 

I adored the singing of Emily Williams as Rachel. Sounding just like the original leading lady herself, but with a modern attitude that Houston would have loved and admired, you couldn't help but feel she was the perfect fit for this role. Stepping into the role of Frank was Ayden Callaghan. Most known for his roles in soaps Hollyoaks and Emmerdale, he took to the steel faced role with ease and seemed to be the glue that held the story together. I also loved Emily-Mae as Nicki. Her singing was sublime and she won me over with her performance. However, my personal favourite of the evening was Marios Nicolaides as the Stalker. For a part that had absolutely no on stage dialogue, his performance was chilling, memorable, and a true stand out amongst the cast.

It's hard to deny that The Bodyguard isn't a hit show and film. With a packed audience that were on their feet dancing at the end, you have to appreciate that it has it's purpose in theatre and there is an audience that truly loves it and adores it. And I have to admit that beyond the few moments that I found personally slightly odd, there is a show that I really enjoyed. However at times I felt that I was watching two different shows as I saw the brilliant whole company numbers that had me dancing in my seat, alongside some bizarre acting and staging choices that didn't make sense.

Whilst my opinion might be that this wasn't my favourite show, I can understand why it's such a huge hit. With a target audience of fans of both the movie and Houston herself, its undeniably a show for the fans and truly lives up to the expectations of these. I adored so many of the elements on stage. The chemistry between the leading performers, the singing, and the costumes meant that by the end of the night everyone in the audience had a good time. How will you know if you'll love this musical? Well you'll just have to dance yourself down to the theatre to find out. 

Tickers are on sale at the Mayflower Theatre Southampton until 04/11/2023 before continuing on a UK Tour. For more info follow the links below:

Mayflower Theatre - The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard Musical

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