West End Theatre Guide London
The Bodyguard is a 1992 movie by Lawrence Kasdan featuring the music of and starring Whitney Houston, with Kevin Cosner featuring as her bodyguard, Frank Farmer. It has been adapted into a stage musical by Alexander Dinelaris. The story follows singer and actress Rachel Marron’s journey in her bid to win an Oscar and her battle to avoid the grasp of her mysterious, obsessive stalker. The musical adaptation of the film gives a different take on the story, telling it from Rachel’s point of view instead of Frank’s and there are also differences in the plot.
Beverley Knight (The Bodyguard, Memphis, Cats) reprised her role as Rachel Marron (she played Marron in 2013 as her stage debut at the Adelphi Theatre). Knight’s voice is nothing short of spectacular, singing Houston’s vocally-challenging songs with ease and grace and delivering a knockout performance. Knight excels with ‘Queen of the Night’, which is the perfect opening for the show and demonstrates the crowd-pleasing and diva side of Rachel’s character. The audience also sees a softer side to Rachel, particularly when she is with her son, Fletcher.
Ben Richards (Aladdin, Rock of Ages, Hollyoaks (TV)) starred as Frank Farmer. Richards is brilliant as the strong, handsome bodyguard and Marron’s protector. He also gives the audience a comic moment when Richards pretends he can’t sing and performs ‘I Will Always Love You’ at a karaoke night, which is then followed by Knight’s breathtaking performance of ‘I Have Nothing’.
Rachel John (Memphis, Rent, We Will Rock You) played Nicki Marron, Rachel’s older sister, who harbours intense jealousy of her sister’s career success. John is fantastic in the role, singing ‘Saving All My Love’ perfectly and also performs ‘Run To You’ as a beautiful duet with Knight.
The ensemble are also outstanding, delivering high energy and exciting dance numbers, particularly with ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘How Will I Know’ and ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’.
‘I Will Always Love You’ is a standout number in the show, along with ‘One Moment In Time’, which is fabulously performed by Knight and builds to the dramatic climax of the musical.
Overall, The Bodyguard is a good show, fantastic fun with powerful music, a talented cast but with a weak story. The spectacular performances of Whitney Houston’s much-loved hits partially make up for this but certainly not all the way.
This production of The Bodyguard is currently showing at the Dominion Theatre for a limited run until 7th January 2017. For more information on you visit to the Dominion Theatre, read our guide.