Monday, 1 May 2017

THE BODYGUARD - the greatest musical of all !

THE BODYGUARD musical is based on the 1992 Warner Bros. movie which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. It had its world premiere at London's Adelphi Theatre in 2012 and since then has been performed around the world.

I must admit, I am one of the few people who has not seen the Bodyguard movie. Hence I can not say if this Australian stage production is a good interpretation of it or not. However, I can say that I thoroughly enjoyed what I saw on stage. If, like me you have not seen the movie, or you have seen the movie, I suggest you get along to the Lyric Theatre to see THE BODYGUARD in its short run in Sydney.

The story is about Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown Stalker. Each tries to do things their own way, but in the process they fall in love.

The standout stars of the THE BODYGUARD are the two female leads.

Paulini, the Fijian born singer-songwriter, plays Rachel Marron. Paulini first came to our attention in the inaugural series of Australian Idol. She has absolutely mastered singing all her songs with power, emotion and clarity. Her songs sung in her concert scenes of THE BODYGUARD are sung as if you are actually at a mega-star concert. She has a voice right up there with Whitney Houston.

Prinnie Stevens plays Rachel's sister, Nicki Marron. Her voice too is amazing and she sings with much heart-felt emotion.

The role of Rachel Marron’s son Fletcher is played by four boys who alternate in the role. On the night I saw THE BODYGUARD young 8 year old Tyrese Medina played Fletcher. He was good in his small role, and mastered his dialogue and acting to a tee. He excelled at his running skills as he exited the stage!

Kip Gamblin plays Frank, who is the wonderful but annoying bodyguard. He has been in various Aussie TV soaps and dramas. This is his first musical theatre role, and for the most part he gets it right.

Brendan Irving plays the Stalker. Scary in some spots, he is too nice for this part.

THE BODYGUARD is mixture of a musical, a thriller, a comedy and a concert. The best scenes are the amazing opening and closing scenes. The opening concert scene has amazing lighting and flame effects. The final scene is where Rachel Marron is elevated to greater heights with her concert performance. What happens between the opening and closing scenes is riveting as well, even though the singing outshines the acting.

The band is excellent. There were only 8 members in it, but they played with full gusto on the big production songs. They did not drown out the singers, and the various instruments could be discerned. When the guitar was just played for some of the songs it was beautiful.

The Bodyguard has lots of songs we are all familiar with from radio airplay and CD sales, including the Greatest Love Of All, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and the famous I Will Always Love You.

The choreography by Karen Bruce adds to the songs being sung and gives them life

The staging of THE BODYGUARD is exceptional. The concert stages, Rachel Marron's mansion, and the log cabin all looked good. The video projections added to the mystery of what was happening and joined up scenes. There were streamers, fog, and flames to enhance the spectacle.

The sound and lighting of THE BODYGUARD were exceptional. The lasers, strobes, and LED lighting were all wonderful. It was disappointing that in the curtain call the actors did not acknowledge the sound and lighting crews after they acknowledged the band. I have noticed this has been a trend in recent years. Sound and lighting make the actors on the stage and should be given more recognition.

There was a well deserved standing ovation during the curtain call. THE BODYGUARD continued on after this with several more songs. The cast seemed to bee more relaxed while singing these and looked as though they were really enjoying themselves with the singing and dancing.

I can sum up THE BODYGUARD with what I overheard another person say as they were leaving the theatre - "I loved it, I loved it, I loved it, I loved it!"  Even though the poor seating layout of the Lyric Theatre meant that I had the head of the person in front of me blocking my view as I looked to centre stage, and the person sitting behind me annoyed me all night by singing along with each song, munching on crackers, snorting as she laughed, and talking loudly to herself, I can say that I loved THE BODYGUARD too.

It is good that producers Michael Harrison, David Ian and John Frost have brought this international award-winning hit musical to Australia. THE BODYGUARD is on at the Lyric Theatre now, then playing at the Lyric Theatre, Brisbane from 19 July, then the Regent Theatre, Melbourne from 24 August. Make sure that you get along to see this amazing show!


Venue: Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
Performance Times: Tues 7pm, Wed-Sat 8pm, Matinees Tues & Wed 1pm, Sat & Sun 2pm, Sun 6pm
Prices: From $69.90
or 1300 795 267
Groups 8+ call 1300 889 278

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