The Bodyguard has been around for years but this touring production feels just as fresh as when it first stepped out onto the West End stage. Based on the 1992 film starring the legendary Whitney Houston, this musical uses her classic hits to create a full blown musical spectacular.
Telling the story of Rachel Marron, one of the most sought after popstars, she is under threat from a stalker and therefore inherits a bodyguard. We watch her frustration as she just wants to go about her life alongside her fear when protecting her son. She soon warms to her bodyguard Frank Farmer and finds herself falling in love with him.
The Bodyguard is a touring musical with exceptional production values. Set and costume designer Tim Hatley doesn’t hold back on the sparkle as he creates a visually stunning set in the opening scene during Rachel Marron’s explosive concert. Hatley’s design really sets the scene and creates a sensational atmosphere. We move seamlessly from the concert, to Rachel’s impressive mansion, to backstage and more. It’s a show with many scenes but the slick transitions give the story pace.
Opening the first week of the show in Wolverhampton is Jennlee Shallow as Rachel Marron. She brings the star-quality with her stellar vocals and sassy stage presence. She embodies the diva in the role yet gives a convincing performance as the tender and vulnerable woman. Her chemistry with the bodyguard Frank Farmer played by Benoît Maréchal is electric as he brings real charm to the role.
Micha Richardson is flawless as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron. Constantly in Rachel’s shadow, she has a passion for performing and a soft spot for Frank Farmer. Richardson’s voice is sublime as she tackles some of Whitney’s belters with charisma and ease. Phil Atkinson dominates the stage as The Stalker and despite a lack of lines, just his arrival on stage gives you goosebumps with his creepy nature.
What I love about this production isn’t just the catalogue of Whitney Houston hits, but the real drama and conviction within the show. Despite watching it multiple times, I still find myself hooked on every word as the tension unfolds – it’s superbly directed by Thea Sharrock.
The Bodyguard is a musical made for every Whitney Houston fan but boasts a lot more substance than your usual jukebox musical. With fierce talent and impressive staging, it is a climatic production that combines quality drama with iconic music.
The Bodyguard is on at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until the 6th of July.