The Bodyguard At The Alexandra Birmingham | Until December 30
I’ll admit I was never a big fan of the film; even Hollywood struggled to make the chemistry between Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston feel convincing. The stage production suffers from the same issue – but to be honest, that doesn’t really matter.
It’s the soundtrack – we’re talking proper big belters like One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I Have Nothing and Greatest Love Of All – that truly elevates The Bodyguard. The songs are not merely there as window dressing, shoehorned in to win over the audience; rather they are an integral part of the narrative, enhancing the emotional resonance of each scene.
Emily Williams shines as the enigmatic pop sensation Rachel Marron. Her portrayal is a masterclass in emotive storytelling, as she takes us on a journey through the highs and lows of fame. Her voice – originally made famous on Australian Pop Idol – is an absolute powerhouse that reaches every inch of the Alex yet still adds a nuanced vulnerability to her character.
Opposite her is Frank Farmer, the former United States Secret Service agent turned bodyguard. Played straight and stiff by Aydan Callaghan, he commands attention as the embodiment of a dedication to protect Rachel from an unknown stalker (but there’s still that issue of unconvincing chemistry).
In between the unfolding drama, the supporting cast’s energy and precision – most notably Emily Mae as Nicki Marron – inject bursts of infectious vitality. The set (designed by Tim Hatley) deserves applause too; its ingenuity seamlessly transports the audience from glamorous concert venues to the intimate spaces of the characters’ lives. The use of multimedia projections adds a cinematic quality to the production and the giant visuals portraying said stalker had shades of Eminem’s Stan.
From the infectious I Wanna Dance with Somebody to the heart-wrenching, iconic ballad I Will Always Love You, each number was expertly choreographed and staged, as we were treated to a nostalgic celebration of Houston’s legacy. So much so, at times I felt rather emotional – this is as much a tribute to an absolute music legend as it is a very entertaining musical.