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  • Writer's pictureandybram69

The Bodyguard

When performed by such a brilliant cast you will always love this show

The opening scene of The Bodyguard: The Musical, will delight fans of the 1992 film – it’s almost identical and the jump scares from the off immediately gives you the feeling of revisiting a much loved rainy-day comforter . That said, the stage version picks up the pace with a much more music-forward, funny, and dynamic production which will create many new fans. Ayden Callaghan (Emmerdale, Hollyoaks) plays the title character, Frank Farmer, a seasoned protector who is reluctant to take on the duty of guarding one of the world’s most well-known pop stars and our very own much loved Zoe Birkett (Great British Bake Off Musical, Moulin Rouge) playing Rachel Marron.

In the film version, Kevin Costner’s Frank is played like a classic leading man – think Steve McQueen or Robert Redford; quiet, cool confidence and mysterious weariness. Callaghan’s Frank Farmer is equally self-aware, but much more easy going, self depreciating and on the whole, very funny, often garnering laughter from the audience and ensuring that the live show never takes the plot too seriously, unlike the film.

As would be expected of a musical version, this show is as much a celebration of Whitney Houston’s music as it is a re-telling of the story. With extra Houston songs packed in, nearly every scene is framed around one of her hits: dancers in 90s-style workout gear practice a routine to How Will I Know, three drunk women in a bar do a hilarious karaoke rendition of Where Do Broken Hearts Go and then freak out when pop star Marron (originally played by Whitney Houston in a mind blowing life-imitating art-imitating life cycle) steps up to sing one of her own songs, I Have Nothing.

With many strong vocal performances, this show needs a super lead to ensure Barron stands above them all and in Zoe Birkett we have one of the best in the country. Having Zoe back in the North East brings a sense of regional pride which permeates the whole audience, to nab a football chant “she’s one of our own, she’s one of our own” and this show is perfect to showcase her immense talents.

Often beset with tales of audience members feeling their love of Whitney Houston gives them permission to take over the singing, it was wonderful to see that the full house remained in complete respect to the cast (and other patrons), allowing the show to be heard without the caterwauling of drunken wannabees. That was until after the final bow, when the full cast sang I Wanna Dance With Somebody and the already standing audience were given permission to move, dance, sign and enjoy; singing that continued outside and into the late summer night.

Fans of the original movie will no doubt already booked their tickets, likewise fans of Whitney Houston, but this show is great fun and a brilliant night for anyone who enjoys great music and phenomenal acting.

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