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The Bodyguard

16 October 15 words: Bea Bop
How does one musical succeed in channeling Whitney?

The Bodyguard Musical (west end show photo)

So, it had finally arrived in Nottingham. The fully staged musical with an X-factor star, and boy was Ms. Alexandra Burke definitely worth the wait, working the glitz and glamour alongside a beautiful and energetic cast.

We were treated to all of our five senses being blasted from the beginning. There were gun shots, fire flame effects and screen projections providing the flashback narrative before the dramatic introduction to the "Alexandra (Rachel Marron)-channelling-Whitney concert."

This is not how I remember the Bodyguard movie.  I had distinct recollections of moody protagonists who fall in love - in a thriller.  Maybe the intentions of the theatre producers was to make sure that Whitney Houston would be forever on our mind in the most positive light.  So, I allowed this stage interpretation to catapult me on a journey with a dark performance by the Stalker, (Mike Denman), the reluctant hero/Bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Stuart Reid) and the jealous sibling Nicki (Melissa Williams). All embedded within a relentless Whitney-fest of songs.

Costumes and set (Tim Hatley) were changed thick and fast.  Alexandra's lovely limbs and proportions were beautifully shown off, in bright and sparkly outfits for the big song and dance numbers.  I found it hard not to jiggle and move in time to the choreography (Karen Bruce) had set for Alexandra and the cast. Fletcher (Daniel Daszek-Green) also got in on the act with the choreography early on in the musical and gave solid performances as Rachel's son throughout.

Now let's talk about the two standout bits of cheese.  The first was when the hero saved Rachel from the dodgy night club crowd in a smokescreen fountain onto which was back-projected the silhouette of Rachel in Frank's arms with the O.K. Corral-crossed-with Magnum P.I. type music played by the live orchestra. (Think Batman symbol projected into Gotham's night sky and you've got the picture). The second was when THE* ballad was sung at the end and Rachel sings sweetly on stage with a front-projected 10-foot high image of Frank slithers down.

Okay, moving on.  I mentioned the live orchestra. Yep, they were located in the pits and they produced a top sound that accompanied the whole glamourous gig.  It had a feel of a tribute music concert from the start but it was only at the end, after the cast had taken their bows, that Alexandra finally managed to get what she had wanted from us all along.  She got us up on our feet, dancing in the aisles as she and the cast performed 'I Want to Dance with Somebody'.  Now we were all channelling Whitney.

*THE ballad is of course I Will Always Love You written and composed by Dolly Parton.

The Bodyguard Musical is on at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall from Tuesday 13 October to Saturday 24 October 2015.

Bea's Blog 

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