Press night tickets gifted for honest review purposes.
A spectacular performance which pays homage to Whitney Houston and The Bodyguard movie.
Let me start off by saying that if I could go again to see The Bodyguard this week, I absolutely would without a shadow of a doubt. The movie is incredibly iconic and I was beyond excited to hear the Whitney Houston classics on stage. To say I was looking forward to The Bodyguard is a complete and utter understatement. In fact, excitement does the musical a disservice because the performance I was in for was, in fact, incredible.
As expected, Curve Theatre last night was bustling. There were very few seats remaining and fortunately everybody was well-behaved. Win!
The show commences with a gunshot which caused the audience to let out an audible gasp. So much so, I nearly spilt my drink over me… classic Lauren! Pitch black, gunshots and the silhouette of Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) is protecting a client from an assassin. Everybody was fully engaged from there and then.
Cutting to the accolades of Rachel Marron (performed by Samantha Mbolekwa as the alternate) opens up the show with pyrotechnics and incredible vocals hitting “Queen of the Night“. The opening number was just one of the wonderful musical numbers Samantha was preparing us for.
The show runs fairly true to the movie, following the headstrong superstar Rachel Marron come under threat from an obsessive stalker. Her team entrust the support of expert bodyguard Frank Farmer to keep her safe and although she is reluctant to heed advice, she soon learns, albeit the hard way, that she needs him and the romance soon grows.
Speaking of romance, I thought it was incredibly well done how Rachel (Samantha Mbolekwa) and Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) connected on stage. Both showing a romantic tension building, a burning but fleeting romance and then a lustful ‘what might’ve been‘ in the short time frame. Ayden Callaghan brought charm and flashes of playfulness in such a strong character and Samantha Mbolekwa nailed the role of Rachel. She was both powerful and strong whilst displaying vulnerability.
On a loosely related note – did anybody else feel they were reminiscent of Rachel Zane and Mike Ross from Suits?! I loved that pair together and the mannerisms and romance just seemed so familiar to me.
Further, I felt Emily-Mae Walker portrayed the ‘forgotten’ sister role well. Completely overshadowed by her sister, she brought a lovely element of warmth and strokes of jealousy without malice with the addition of the interesting love triangle subplot. I especially enjoyed Rachel and Nikki’s connecting writing “The Greatest Love of All” and the powerful and emotional duet of “All the Man That I Need“.
For a role that has very few lines, Marios Nicolaides was a menacing Stalker who brought a disconcerting atmosphere to the stage. His scene with Fletcher was spine-tingling and the energy he brought was a wicked contrast to the rest of the cast.
I enjoyed the role of Sy Spector (James Groom) playing a less ruthless publicist and rather a loveable and comedic tonic to the cast. Perfectly teamed with Tony Scibelli (Graham Elwell) and Bill Devaney(John Macaulay), I really enjoyed the balance and the dynamics between the security, the manager and the publicist. They showed great love for Rachel, even if they didn’t always get things quite right.
Overall, I loved this performance of The Bodyguard. It packs a punch with drama, romance, literal fire performances to an unforgettable music score, fabulous choreography and beautiful costumes. I especially enjoyed singing and dancing along to “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” during the finale.
You’ll go in singing the songs and come out belting them. In fact, coming out of the car park, we saw a group of women with the windows down screaming the lyrics to “How Will I Know”. What a vibe.
So how will you know if you really love this performance? By grabbing one of the last very few remaining tickets to see The Bodyguard at Curve, Leicester this week! It will come as no surprise that this was a five-star show.
The Bodyguard will continue their tour to Nottingham, Milton Keynes, Birmingham, Oxford, Blackpool, Southampton, Sheffield, Liverpool, Dublin, Belfast, Inverness and more!
Curve Theatre, Leicester 17 APR – 22 APR
Running time: 2h 20 (including a 20 min interval)
Age Recommendation: Although 7+, I would suggest older as this production contains repetitive flashing lights and visual effects, pyrotechnics, theatrical fire, smoke and haze, gunshots, loud sound effects and scenes of mild peril.
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