'Bodyguard' brings audience to their feet, hands in the air
With its amazing ballads and riveting storyline that keeps you on the edge of your seat, The Bodyguard brings audiences to their feet, with hands waiving in the air. The crowd-pleasing Bodyguard will be playing at the Orpheum Theatre January 10th through January 15th.
As a child of two gay dads I was raised listening to Whitney Houston's music. ‘I wanna dance with somebody’ has always been an anthem for my family. Houston is a vocal icon to me and to anyone else with ears. Her music has always been about crowd-pleasing vocals above all else. So, it isn’t surprising coming into this show I had very low expectations. Few singers could rise to Whitney’s level of vocal talent and so I wasn't too ecstatic about the prospects of hearing someone try to measure up to her. That is until I found out that Deborah Cox would be playing Rachel, (My dads also love her and play her music a lot.) and I was happy to discover she didn’t disappoint as the centerpiece with a big voice in what is an otherwise small show.
The vocals of Deborah Cox, who played Rachel, brought to life the story of the star who falls for the Bodyguard she hires to protect her. In fact, like Whitney before her, Cox delivers simply breathtaking, crowd-pleasing vocals. Each music number sent chills down arms and deserved the standing ovations they received.
Close to almost every song was a ballad which I'd complain about if the level of talent wasn't there. My favorite number was the curtain call, ‘I wanna dance with somebody’. Every member of the audience was on their feet dancing with their hands in the air clapping along. I've never been to a show that gets the audience up singing along and dancing like the bodyguard. I didn't see one person sitting down, it really brought the theatre and the audience to life. The song choice was a perfect follow up to the saddening and touching, ‘I will always love you’.
The set was very simplistic and functional, there was nothing spectacular about it. One thing that stood out to me about the set was the effective use of multi-media, as filmed scenes played on black screens, almost like a movie. This isn’t particularly innovative, but let’s be honest, we all know why we are in the audience for this show. The sets allowed the songs to take center stage, and that was the whole point.
Aside from the vocals the biggest impression from the show for me, and I'm assuming the majority of the audience, was the very beginning of the show. It began with a bang, literally. As the audience was chattering away we were interrupted by a loud gunshot sound. The gunshot lead to a scene of a show down between two gunmen which I still haven't figured out if it was a foreshadow or a prologue of the bodyguards previous job. Although it was a controversial entrance due to the intense scare it gave the audience, it was quite effective. I love that it really pulled us in and brought everyone’s attention to the stage. From that moment till the end of the show there wasn't a moment you weren't on the edge of your seat, whether it was due to the song ‘I have nothing’ or due to the insanely intense storyline that moved with a steady pace, keeping your attention along the way.
The Bodyguard is filled with entertaining numbers and in the end, perhaps its success can be measured by the impact on the audience. Some shows advance musical theatre and push it into new boundaries, others just simply entertain. This is one of those shows that had the audience on their feet with hands waiving in the air, and like the music that inspired it, I absolutely loved every minute of it.