Tuesday, May 28

The Bodyguard – Opera House, Blackpool

What a fantastic night at Winter Gardens, Blackpool, at the opening performance of The Bodyguard Musical,

Based on the 1992 Oscar nominated movie of the same name, starring the household names Kevin Costner and the late great Whitney Houston in the leading roles. The West End production was nominated for 4 Olivier awards and was followed by a sell-out 18-month UK and Ireland tour. The show has played to over 3.6 million people in 15 countries and 45 US cities.

Producers, Michael Harrison and David Ian alongside director Thea Sharrock brought us a dazzling line up of talent and a show that sells itself with a score full of Houston’s greatest hits.

The story tells of a vocal superstar Rachel Marron, who is dealing with an unknown stalker. Frank Farmer, former Secret Service agent is hired to become her bodyguard to protect Rachel and her son Fletcher. Featuring Whitney’s classics such as One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, and of course – I Will Always Love You,

My favourite was All the man I need.

In the leading role Emily Williams took on the daunting task of portraying the role of Rachel Marron and it is so hard not to compare the vocal and Character in general to Houston as it was such an iconic movie, but Williams took the role in her stride, and she is undeniably talented both vocally and as a triple threat. I was surprised however that she wasn’t made to cover her tattoos, they were very clearly visible at times and a little distracting.

Photo: Paul Coltas

Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer was incredible in the role, a natural performer and there was a very believable chemistry, between himself and Williams. For me plot wise, the love story happened a little too quickly from the initial meeting of the two of them, to them being in love, we don’t see a lot of their journey.

The standout star of the night in my opinion was Emily-Mae as Nicki, the long-suffering sister in the shadows of Rachel. Emily was perfect in the role and her voice was unbelievable. The sisters duet Run To You was effortless and beautiful.

Vocally the show throughout is great but it has moments that I felt the performers were holding back, and other moments of absolute perfection, it just wasn’t consistent.

The touring cast features around 20 performers, and in certain crowd scenes the lack of numbers were really felt, having said that, the dancers were highly skilled and well-choreographed.

A standout from the ensemble being Kayne Gordon as various featured roles. He really pulled the eye in a good way in group scenes and choreographed numbers.

Fletcher, the son was adorable, the role being shared by 4 young talented boys, but tonight was the turn of Ryo Appadu, a youngster making his professional debut with the tour, one to watch for the future.

I found the costumes under whelming, obviously it’s mainly day to day clothes and they did get progressively more impressive towards the end of the show, but I was disappointed with Rachel’s costumes especially during the segments of the show that were supposed to be live performances.

The technical side of things was second to none, very clever use of effects, screen projections, pyrotechnics and modern elements throughout.

I found it a little strange that there was no overture or finale music for the bows, this can be a little awkward to watch.

The show for me was the perfect length, starting 7.30, the first half around an hour, quite a long interval then the second half finishing around 10pm.

If you loved Whitney Houston music or the movie, go and get those tickets, for an evening of nostalgia and pure entertainment.

Reviewer: Rebecca Casey

Reviewed: 6th November 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
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