When you think of the film The Bodyguard, you can't help but think of Whitney Houston and the amazing soundtrack. The West End Production of The Bodyguard has just opened up at the Adelphi Theatre, and will surely keep the memory of Houston alive.
While not an actual tribute to her, this stage version follows the exact same story as that of the film. Rachel Marron (played by Heather Headley) and her young son need the protection of a bodyguard due to a stalker sending creepy email to Rachel. Initially Rachel thinks she does not need a bodyguard, but as the stalker gets more and more obsessive, she gives in and accepts Frank Farmer (Lloyd Owen) as one of her staff, and eventually she falls for him.
Meanwhile, Rachel has been nominated for two Oscars and needs to be seen out in public, though Frank thinks this is a bad idea. He eventually gives in and they go to one of Frank's favorite bars, a karaoke bar, where Frank sings. It turns out the stalker (played by a creepy Mark Letheren) knows their every move, and Rachel, her son, her sister Nicki (Debbie Kurup) and Frank escape to Frank's father's house somewhere in the mountains. But they are not safe there either.
The film version of The Bodyguard was a big hit, and the soundtrack sold millions of copies worldwide and won several Grammy awards. The stage version struggles to come close to the film version, with acting that is not great and a romance that is not very believable. It is mostly in the music where The Bodyguard excels. Headley, who has been a stage actress for the past 15 years and won a Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Aida in 2000 in New York, gives the songs her all. Her voice, strong, powerful and soulful, powers through Houston's hits from the film, including I Will Always Love You and Queen of the Night, and some not from the film, including I Wanna Dance with Somebody and So Emotional. Headley's musical performance is the only highlight of The Bodyguard, though there are good supporting performances by Kurop and Letheren. Owen is very stiff throughout the show and doesn't make much of an impact to the story. If you're a fan of the soundtrack, you'll enjoy that aspect, but you'll struggle to forget Houston's voice and image from the film.