We headed down to The Bodyguard last week to see Beverley Knight and Tristan Gemmill take to the stage for their first night as Rachel Marron and Frank Farmer – roles made famous by Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner in the film of the same name. For those who have seen the film, the musical recreates the story of the hugely successful pop singer, stalked by a crazed fan and the new bodyguard who comes into her life to protect her.
When we arrived, there was already a huge queue down the road; the show was a complete sell out for the night and the audience were enthusiastic throughout the entire show. With every chair taken in the theatre, the applause that came after each song was possibly the loudest display of appreciation I have ever witnessed at the theatre – and rightly so. The show is all about recreating the music of Whitney Houston (and the atmosphere of the film) and it does a fantastic job in both respects.
The stage seems to be constantly moving to allow for scene changes; these are not distracting, however, they occur seamlessly and quickly – not as quickly as the costume changes though (there were times when there were mere seconds between Beverley slipping from one costume to another – still not sure how that’s even possible!)
Beverley Knight is a great singer and fantastic choice to take over in the role – what she does with her voice is incredible. She is in complete control with every swoop of her vocals and hits every note, making it seem absolutely effortless. When the moment came that the audience knew the first lines from ‘I Will Always Love You’ were about to be sung, you could sense the anticipation from everyone to hear those difficult high notes. Debbie Kurup (who plays Nicki Marron – Rachel’s sister) matches Beverley in vocal ability and performs just as passionately alongside her.
The musical delivers a mix of drama and comedy with the chance to indulge in some of Houston’s finest songs from her extensive catalogue of music. If you liked the film, there’s a good chance you will love this version. By the end of it, we were on our feet dancing with the cast and the audience and continued to boogie and hum the songs all the way down the road.