The Bodyguard – Hit Musical Sizzles & Excites, Rose’s Review

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Bodyguard 1International award winning hit musical The Bodyguard has been so successful and popular, it is now playing at the Sydney Lyric Theatre for an extended season before moving to the Lyric Theatre at QPAC in Brisbane from 19 July and then on to the Regent Theatre in Melbourne from 24 August.

Bodyguard 3Presented in Australia by Michael Harrison, David Ian and John Frost, the musical has played to millions of people around the world entertaining audiences with a very potent storyline and irresistible classics, including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love of All, Million Dollar Bill, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest hit songs of all time – I Will Always Love You.

Bodyguard 12This production certainly has all the exciting crowd pleasing ingredients essential for the delivery of a sensational musical theatre experience. It is a spectacular romantic thriller bubbling with vitality, breathtaking music and electrifying contemporary dance.

PauliniPaulini Cureunavuli is the ultimate icing on the cake. Her incredible, emotive and engaging voice is unique, and her performance is phenomenal. Paulini’s physical stamina for the taxing singing, dancing and acting role of Rachel Marron is extraordinary.

Paulini has a unique ability to adjust her tone, volume and overall expression to suit the various styles of the musical numbers she performs. She oozes talent and effuses personality.

Her excellent phrasing is a crucial element of her persuasive performance. She has shaped each phrase with a sensitivity, that evolves from an astute understanding, love and respect for both music and lyrics. Her impressive five octave vocal range is remarkable.

I was a fan of the Fijian born singer songwriter when she first appeared on the inaugural series of Australian Idol in 2003 and it was a thrill to witness her spectacular theatrical debut in The Bodyguard.

Bodyguard 7This memorable show starts with a bang and ends with a rousing and exceptionally engaging finale. The final standing ovation and dancing from the audience was acknowledgement and appreciation for this highly entertaining musical production. Wow what a night!

Bodyguard 8The musical is based on the smash hit Warner Bros 1992 movie which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The film was written by the acclaimed, Oscar-nominated screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Big Chill and The Empire Strikes Back), and the musical features a book by Oscar winner Alexander Dinelaris (Birdman).

The world premiere production of The Bodyguard previewed at London’s Adelphi Theatre in November 2012, starring Grammy and Tony Award winner Heather Headley as Rachel Marron. It was nominated for four Olivier Awards, and won Best New Musical at the Whatsonstage Awards.

Bodyguard 5Former Secret Service Agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer (Kip Gamblin) is hired to protect superstar singer Rachel Marron (Paulini) from an extremely dangerous and menacing Stalker (Brendan Irving).

Frank is a grounded professional who investigates Rachael’s security situation with perceptive findings and incisive recommendations.

Both are very strong personalities and used to being in charge. Frank is a leader in his field and Rachael is very much in control of her glamorous life as a celebrity. Consequently conflict erupts as both characters strive to dominant and over rule each other.

Bodyguard 4Arriving at a compromise leads to an unexpected outcome. Surprisingly they fall in love.

Kip Farmer fuses the role of protector and lover with a restrained finesse that consolidates the chemistry between Rachael and Frank. His classical ballet background enhances his stage poise and confident and eloquent movements across the stage.

Bodyguard 11Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron (Prinnie Stevens) has been overshadowed by her talented sister and sadly also falls in love with Frank.

Stevens’ smooth singing voice is sensuous and liquid giving an emotional resonance to the disappointments and tribulations of being defeated in both career and love.

All characters are smitten by Rachael’s adorable ten year old son Fletcher (Rome Champion, Tyrese Medina and Chetachi Nwaogazi).

There are some very tender moments especially between Fletcher and Frank and for this performance Chetachi Nwaogazi was very convincing and captivated the audience.

Bodyguard 10The Creatives for this production provided a conceptual framework of solidarity and a fusion of cohesive and imaginative ideas.

Director Thea Sharrock has savoured and celebrated the elements of Musical Theatre. She has infused The Bodyguard with the signature component of crafting a magical experience for the audience that delivers undiluted happiness.

Musical Director David Skelton conducted the orchestra with a spirited panache bringing the musical numbers to life and communicating the essence of the musical themes and genres.

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Set and Costume Designer Tim Hatley was faultless in his elegantly conceived set design and exquisite costumes. The tall panel’s pivoted flexibility created stylish lines and brilliantly showcased the various changing scenes.

Dinosaur wallpapered panels in Fletcher’s bedroom were charming and the perfect modern backdrop for inviting the audience into childhood innocence.

In contrast, the fairy-tale ambience of Rachael’s feminine bedroom in the opening scene in Act 11 was romantic and fragile, eclipsing mood and mirroring the narrative.

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The choreography by Karen Bruce was a fine example of using creativity and imagination to transform ideas into entertaining dance routines that expressed the emotional nuances of the story line and celebrated the alchemy of the music.

This dazzling production of The Bodyguard deserves the highest accolades. It is absolutely a musical theatre experience to be treasured and enjoyed.

Rose Niland, Special Features NSW, The Culture Concept Circle, 2017

Bodyguard 9The Bodyguard
The Musical

Presented in Australia by Michael Harrison, David Ian and John Frost

Sydney
Sydney Lyric Theatre, The Star
21 April – 2 July

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Brisbane
Lyric Theatre, QPAC
From 19 July

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Melbourne
Regent Theatre
From 24 August

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Photographs by Peter Brew Bevan and Jeff Busby

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