**** 4 Stars
“ The Bodyguard the musical delivers a true slice of big budget west end theatre”
In 1992 Whitney Houston’s film “The Bodyguard” broke box office records and shot Houston to critical acclaim and insured the song “I will always love you” written by Dolly Parton would enter the lexicon of musical history.
In 2012 the film was adapted for the stage the show’s book by Alexander Dinelaris brings the story forward to present day and changes the focus of the story to bring the character of Rachel Marron (Alexandra Burke) to the forefront rather than the bodyguard. The script adapted from the original screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan also expands the role of Rachel Marron’s sister Nicki (Micha Richardson). The stage musical like the original film features music by Whitney Houston which in addition to the original movie soundtrack adds the following additional Houston tracks: “So Emotional”, “One Moment in Time”, “Saving All My Love for You”, “I’m Your Baby Tonight”, “How Will I Know”,”Oh Yes”, “All the Man That I Need”, “All at Once”, and “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”.
Director Thea Sharrock brings a cinematic style to the production thanks to Tim Hatley’s Set and costume design which is stunning as it moves with grace across the stage to create both intimate and expansive settings. The sound design by Richard Brooker does need work though, the opening number “Queen of the night” is supposed to replicate a live stadium concert, however in the playhouse its nothing more than ear splittingly loud and makes for an uncomfortable opening.
Special mention must go to Mark Henderson’s lighting design and Duncan McLean’s Video design. Together they have created award worthy contributions and truly bring the show to life in an unforgettable way.
Performances overall are uniformly excellent, “Burke” in the lead role has what it takes to deliver the role although her voice did seem a little nasal and tired at first but my word when she warmed up it was a powerhouse performance especially on “Always Love you” a true theatrical highlight of the show. The standout performance is Micha Richardson as Nicki Marron her voice is like honey and her presence on stage is felt throughout her performance, its earthy, emotional and flies at all the right moments a brilliant musical theatre performance.
Stepping into the shoes of Kevin Costner’s as Frank Farmer the Bodyguard is Benoit Marechal who delivers a striking and solitary take on the role, his stage presence does draw the eye especially in the climatic showdown with Phil Atkinson as the Stalker. It’s the character of the stalker the delivers my one true bug bear, Director Sharrock has clearly spotted that Atkinson has a well developed six pack and puts it on show at every opportunity, but she has done the finale of act 1 a dis-service, as the stalker stands semi naked brandishing a knife in a serious moment of drama it induces laughter from the audience as well as wolf whistles and its clearly not needed.
The Bodyguard the musical delivers a true slice of big budget west end theatre, wrapped around a taught thriller movie script coupled with excellent performances its well worth a visit to the Playhouse! So, grab those tickets now!
Michael Harrison and David Ian presents, The Bodyguard the musical, Playhouse Theatre Edinburgh, Runs until Saturday 20th July for tickets go to: https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-bodyguard/edinburgh-playhouse/