The Bodyguard Musical: Glitteringly Indulgent
*** Please note, the production reviewed was a preview. ***
One of the most recent musicals to come to London, The Bodyguard Musical is a sure fire hit, starting to sell out even in its previews. Attracting every Whitney Houston fan under the sun, the show doesn’t disappoint its audience, generating gasps of horror and wonder and having the whole audience dancing on its feet by the end of the evening.
This is a phenomenon I’ve only experienced once before, at Mamma Mia! where ABBA fans and musical lovers alike sung their way through the production. The Bodyguard Musical goes one step further, in that it appeals not just to Whitney fans, but also engages the audience in its thrilling plot and demonstrates extremely high production values in its clever set.
Lloyd Owen – of Monarch of the Glen and Catherine Cookson fame – gives a classily understated performance as Frank Farmer, and Heather Headley’s vocals soar over the audience’s heads, giving the late Whitney Houston (may she rest in peace) a run for her money.
Comparison with the film is inescapable, but avid fans are kept interested by some interesting adaptions to the original plot-line. There is some clever but slightly jarring use of projection that nods to the origins of the production, but these are eclipsed by the sequences that are rooted in the theatrical. There are several occasions when we become part of the production as audiences at a karaoke, at various gigs and of course at the Academy Awards: we are involved every step of the way.
All in all, it is one of those productions that is going to be in the West End for a very long time – Headley is likely to experience another long-running musical (she was in the original cast of The Lion King as Nala) and the chance of sell-out shows is very high. The show has not been reviewed by the press yet, and so the hype hasn’t quite kicked off – so this is the time to get your tickets!
If you want to see a musical where a single mother overcomes her demons, sings like a superstar, falls in love with a man who is off-limits and, importantly, includes some of the best songs in recent history, then I urge you to get your tickets to The Bodyguard Musical now. It might not be for everyone – but it comes pretty close to ticking all those boxes.
Other theatre news this week:
– Cinderella opened at the Lyric Hammersmith – the pantomime for adults and children alike (hot tickets!)