I was lucky enough to be given press tickets for the opening night of The Bodyguard- The Musical at Bournemouth Pavilion on Monday 7 August. And wow, what a fantastic start to the week.
The show really kicks things off with a bang (so if you don’t want to sit for two hours with a wet lap, put down your drinks). For those of you who have seen the 1992 movie, you can probably guess what part I’m referring to when I say ‘bang’. And if you haven’t, here’s a little synopsis to get you up to speed.
Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan), is hired to protect multi award-winning R&B superstar Rachel Marron (Zoe Birkett) from an unknown, creepy stalker (Marios Nicolaides). Rachel doesn’t want a bodyguard to tie her down, but when the stalker ups his game, she soon changes her mind, and as the pair spend more time together, they fall in love.
The Bodyguard’s opening number Queen of the Night sets the tone for the whole show – slick, sassy and filled with sequins. But it’s emotional too – so make sure you pack some tissues.
Zoe Birkett is absolutely phenomenal as Rachel Marron. Her energy, compassion and powerhouse of a voice really took my breath away. There were multiple points throughout where she gave me goosebumps. If Whitney was watching from above, she’d be seriously proud of her soul sister. And Ayden Callaghan as the cool, calm and collected Frank Farmer, a role made famous by Kevin Costner in the hit movie, was equally impressive, showing that bodyguards aren’t robots, but have a vulnerable side too.
The musical weaves in Whitney Houston’s multitude of hits effortlessly – How Will I Know, One Moment In Time, Saving All My Love and I’m Every Woman to name a few. In fact, I’d forgotten how many brilliant songs the one and only Whitney had. You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing (or in my case miming) and tapping your feet to all the songs.
Birkett’s rendition of I Will Always Love You was flawless. She hit every note with absolute ease and precision. And Emily-Mae as Nicki Marron, who lives in the shadow of her famous sister, played her part perfectly, with an equally outstanding voice.
We were treated to one final rendition of I Wanna Dance With Somebody after the curtain-call and it didn’t disappoint. Everyone in the audience was up on their fleet clapping and whooping. And we left dancing down the aisles too.
The standing ovation at the end of the performance really said it all. The Bodyguard was absolutely brilliant and I’d recommend the show to anyone. It’s ‘One Moment in Time’ I will never forget.
Bournemouth Pavilion is one of only five venues where you can see Zoe Birkett as Rachel Marron. And believe me when I say, you don’t want to miss out. The Bodyguard is on at the Pavilion until Saturday 12 August 2023, so book your tickets now. And if you can’t make it before Saturday, you can still catch Birkett in Newcastle (15-19 August), Cheltenham (21-26 August) and Norwich (28 August-2 September).
As part of my review, I was also invited to the recently opened Elevate Brassiere & Bar at Bournemouth International Centre. With stunning views of Bournemouth seafront, classy interior and delicious menu, it’s definitely worth a visit.
Note: To review the show I was given complimentary tickets. But my review is completely impartial, and all words are my own.