The Bodyguard The Musical
The 1992 hit film The Bodyguard, starring Kevin Costner and the late Whitney Houston, is a big act to follow, but the production of The Bodyguard—The Musical, creates a new life of its own on the stage.
Taking on the starring roles are actor/dancer Kip Gamblin and Australian Idol graduate Paulini Curuenavuli, as bodyguard Frank (Costner) and pop megastar Rachel Marron (Houston).
The simple story is brought to life with excellent casting and impressive effects that will have you jumping in your seat.
Rachel is being followed by a dangerous stalker, who infiltrates her life in scarily intimate ways, but is unable to be traced through normal security procedures. Rachel will go to any lengths to protect her 10-year-old son Fletcher, but security in Rachel’s life has definite holes in it, so her advisers bring in top gun security man Frank Farmer to ramp up security and keep mother and son safe.
Friction develops as Frank curtails Rachel’s social and professional life, much to the frustration of her publicity agent Sy Spector.
As in the best romances, initial mutual antipathy between Rachel and Frank changes to romantic interest, until Frank realises he can’t do his job of protecting Rachel and Fletcher if he is romantically involved with her.
What makes this predictable story interesting is the chilling sense of danger introduced at key points in the story, and a tragedy the characters must deal with. It certainly makes the audience ponder the very real danger that megastars are in when a crazed fan decides to take over the star’s life. Brendan Irving’s stalker is so effective that at the curtain call he received muted applause mixed with loud boos.
For lovers of Whitney Houston’s classic songs, this show is a treat, with 16 show-stopping songs. It’s a huge sing for Paulini, but she proves she has the voice to belt out the power ballads, and draw us in with her amazing musicianship when she softly sings the emotional songs. A great singer always makes it sound so easy, and Paulini does just that.
As Frank, Kip Gamblin creates an assured character who knows his stuff, and the chemistry between him and Paulini is totally believable. It’s a fine performance to complement Paulini’s showier Rachel.
Rachel’s singer sister Nicki is beautifully played by The Voice alumnus Prinnie Stevens, who matches Paulini with fine vocals. When the two of them briefly sing together it’s a treat, especially in the emotional hymn ‘Jesus loves me’.
Andrew Hazzard’s Sy resembles Prince Harry in physical appearance, and provides a well-drawn character with the dry wit and angst of a dedicated publicist. Singer/actor Glaston Toft, who audiences may remember from Jersey Boys and Georgy Girl, makes the most of his acting role as security adviser Ray Court. And young Aston Droomer, one of four boys playing 10-year-old Fletcher, is a delight.
The Bodyguard—The Musical is an engaging night in the theatre with a story that draws you in and some of the best pop ballads of our time.
Highlight: Paulini’s superb vocals
Red flag: Occasional profanity and adult themes