Review: The Bodyguard The Musical at Newcastle Theatre Royal
Starring Zoe Birkett as Rachel Marron and Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer
Running Time: 2.5 hours including interval
“Zoe Birkett was the Queen Of The Night as she stepped into the shoes of Whitney”
I grew up watching The Bodyguard and fun fact, I could actually recite every line. So seeing it on the stage was an exciting moment for me. Entering the theatre, the atmosphere was electric and I wasn’t the only one who was thrilled to be there.
The Bodyguard (The Musical) follows the story of the 1992 film, but with added Whitney. Zoe Birkett takes the lead role of pop sensation Rachel Marron and belts out epic number after epic number throughout the show.
The storyline adds a range of Whitney hits, from the upbeat “How Will I Know” to the heart-wrenching “I Have Nothing” to Whitney’s final hit “Million Dollar Bill” The movie had a hugely successful soundtrack, and therefore there are big expectations landing on the shoulders of local lass Zoe Birkett. As hard as it is to not join in with the classic hits, the audience are asked before the curtain rises, to refrain from participating in singing along. (There is an opportunity at the end to let it all out)
As the curtain lifts, the show literally starts with a “bang” and the gasps from the audience echoed around the theatre. Followed by cheers when we were then smack bang in a Rachel Marron glitzy pop concert. With flashing lights, dancers and a spectacular performance from the powerhouse that is Zoe Birkett.
The show follows the same plot as that of the movie with former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) being hired to protect Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker, not expecting to fall in love along the way.
Set in a range of different places including Rachel’s home, the bar and the cabin, the sets are simple but effective. The most detailed scene had to be the cabin which was very apt and the special effects used to create great moments throughout are very cleverly executed. The use of huge projection screens showing haunting videos of the stalker was a great way to portray this part of the show.
As expected there are lots of “hit” moments in this show, with Zoe Birkett’s exquisite voice capturing the audience’s hearts as she belts out the classics by Whitney Houston. Her renditions of “I Have Nothing” and the eagerly anticipated “I Will Always Love You” gave me goosebumps, they were full of power and absolutely spectacular performances. She plays Rachel perfectly with a hint of “Diva” and “Sass” but her sweet nature especially around her on stage son was evident and true. Zoe plays the role of Rachel with the perfect balance of vulnerability whilst still maintaining the self-assurance of a global superstar.
Frank Farmer played by Ayden Callaghan was wooden and stern, just like the original Kevin Costner, but also had the audience soften to him with some light hearted moments. The energy between him and Zoe Birkett was electric and intense and truly believable.
The stalker played by Marios Nicolaides was scary and believable and gave me chills with his performance, sending fear around the auditorium when his balaclava clad self appeared in the doorway unexpectedly.
A multi talented cast grace the stage in this musical. With so much fierce stage presence and amazing singing, acting and dancing.
Filled with heart stopping moments and gripping scenes, this is a captivating show from start to finish and definitely a must see.
- Review: The Bodyguard The Musical at Newcastle Theatre Royal - 16 August 2023
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