The Bodyguard The Musical Review - Congress Theatre Eastbourne

On Monday 16th October, Ashdown Radio's Ryan Millns & Rachael Dempsey went along to The Congress Theatre in Eastbourne to watch the opening night of The Bodyguard The Musical. 

Stepping into a role originated by Whitney Houston in the classic 1992 movie, is surely no easy task! Artists rarely even cover Whitney songs – and for good reason - They just can't do it justice! 

Whilst the actresses who have previously taken on this role are all amazing vocalists in their own right, (Alexandra Burke & Beverley Knight for example) there's no denying that the late Whitney Houston was in another league.

Australian recording artist Emily Williams, steps into the role of Rachel Marron on this current tour and although her voice isn't as powerful as Whitney's, she certainly does a good job of keeping the audience mesmerised with her rendition of songs.

Ayden Callaghan (EmmerdaleHollyoaks) is fantastic as the titular bodyguard. The karaoke scene, in which he finally lets down his guard, is one of the best scenes in the show. It’s also a nice touch including the original, country, Dolly Parton version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and will have you in stitches! 

Emily-Mae is lovely to watch as Rachel’s supportive but frustrated sister, Nicki, and her voice rivals Williams' note for note. We particularly enjoyed her rendition of ‘Saving All My Love for You’, and loved the scenes in which Rachel and Nicki sang two halves of the same song, which perfectly captured their love triangle.

The set is stunning, especially Rachel’s home, which is covered in white draping. The costumes, some of which are replicas of those worn by Houston in the movie, are gorgeous.

The opening number is one of the best you’ll ever see in musical theatre. It begins with a big bang that’ll make you jump out of your seat, followed by a short scene in which someone is shot (we can only see shadows on a curtain), before Rachel performs ‘Queen of the Night’ at a concert – complete with fire! It immediately draws you in and gets you ready for a night of nostalgia.

The big moment, ‘I Will always Love You’, does not disappoint. The first two thirds are performed in Rachel’s home, when Frank walks away, with the bridge and final chorus performed on a bare stage, with Williams stood atop a white pillar in a glittering gown.

Whilst the story can be serious, stressful and saddening, the curtain call is fun, feel-good and fabulous, with the entire cast performing ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’, and the audience finally allowed to dance and singalong!

The Bodyguard - The Musical is at the Congress Theatre, Eastbourne now until Saturday 21 October, with nightly performances at 7.30pm, Saturday Matinee 2.30pm, tickets from £28 with selected concessions available on top 3 prices, including £10 off under 16’s. Call the box office on 01323 412000 or visit eastbournetheatres.co.uk.

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