Walking into the “Bodyguard: The Musical” I wasn’t sure what to expect. Being a fan of the original film (embarrassing to admit) I was unsure of the ways a musical could capture the suspense, action and romantic chemistry in the original film. The film/musical plot isn’t complex, and is jam packed with corny/cliché moments. Why this film was made into a musical remains a mystery.
The plot centres on an international pop star Rachel Marron (played by Paulini). After receiving threatening letters and phone calls she enlists the help of Frank Farmer (Kip Gamblin) an ex military bodyguard. As expected they fall in love but not without complications.
At its core, “The Bodyguard: The Musical” is a celebration of Whitney Houston’s music. The musical pays homage to the songs of the film like “Run to You”, “I Have Nothing” and of course “I Will Always Love You”. It also includes the classics such as “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” and “Greatest Love of All” to name a few.
The musical numbers were full of energy and fantastic to watch. Paulini’s singing is outstanding and she truly holds her own singing the incredibly difficult Whitney classics. Prinnie Stevens, who plays Rachel’s sister, also has a great vocal range. The plot is pretty thin, but just when I thought I’d had enough of the plot an energetic musical number would come on and bring me back into full enjoyment!
The music is fun and enjoyable but not enough to sustain the plot. Many of the twists and turns of the original film have been left out and pivotal scenes like the infamous Oscar scene (won’t give spoilers) should have been extended for emotional effect. Although, the musical had some enjoyable moments of comedy, including Farmer’s karaoke rendition of “I Will Always Love You”. The intensity of the film did not translate to the musical. Some of the more dramatic scenes were met with laughs and giggles from the audience.
“The Bodyguard: The Musical” won’t go down as a “classic” musical. With the limited amount of musicals playing in Sydney, it is surprising this was considered a front liner (just pick from the array of musicals on Broadway instead!). If you’re in the mood for some outstanding singing, catchy songs, great dancing and musical numbers I recommend “The Bodyguard: The musical”! These elements make the plot bearable.
Playing Now at Sydney Lyric Theatre