Mayflower, Southampton: The Bodyguard rolls into town

Cult film The Bodyguard translates very well indeed into big touring musical, says Stuart Reid who steps into the shoes worn on screen by Kevin Costner.

Sharing the stage in the part played on screen by Whitney Houston will be Alexandra Burke as the show heads to Southampton’s Mayflower (February 12–28).

“It is not really bursting into song as in a traditional musical,” explains Stuart. “This is much more performance-based songs.”

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge – what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

The result will be a great night out for the audience, Stuart promises.

“The Mayflower lends itself beautifully to the show. The show is almost like a concert from Rachel Marron, and the stage at the Mayflower is really humungous. It will give a real concert feel to the whole thing, and the songs lend themselves really well to the narrative. You have got the songs interspersed between the acting scenes.

“The plot has been slightly changed from the film, but I don’t want to give too much away! It’s just slightly changed in terms of the relationships...”

Not that Stuart turned to the film in preparation for the role.

“The last time I watched the film I was about 15 or 16. I tried not to go back to it. But there are more songs in the show than in the actual film. They realised they had this pool of great Whitney songs, part of Whitney’s collection. I believe members of Whitney’s family have been involved in the preparation of the show.”

As Frank says, essentially it’s a love story: “You have this steely outward character in Frank, but it all progresses through the love interest. The two characters, Frank and Rachel, have a love-hate relationship.

“They really don’t get on to start with. Frank is asked by one of Rachel’s entourage to look after her. Someone has been sending letters which she is not aware of, and so Frank is brought in. He is good at what he does, and he shakes things about a bit. But Rachel wants an easy life. She doesn’t want the changes.

“The show is fabulous. From top to bottom, everyone involved is at the absolute top of their game, which his great. The show feels fresh. It feels new.”

Alexandra Burke rose to fame after winning the fifth series of The X Factor. Her debut number one single Hallelujah sold over one million copies in the UK, a first for a British female soloist. Burke’s first album, Overcome saw the release of her subsequent number one singles Bad Boys and Start Without You. In 2011 she embarked on her first solo tour and was invited by Beyoncé to support her I Am... Tour. Her second album, Heartbreak on Hold, was released in June 2012 and later this year sees the release of her third studio album. Zoe Birkett is probably best known as the highest placing female contestant in ITV’s Pop Idol, 2002. Since then she has appeared in the West End productions of Priscilla Queen of the Desert and originated the female lead in Thriller Live. Her other theatre credits include the Acid Queen in Tommy and Maureen in Rent.

Stuart Reid appeared in the West End production of The Bodyguard at the Adelphi Theatre. His other theatre credits include the international tour of Mamma Mia! and the UK tours of Grease and Guys and Dolls. Melissa James most recently appeared in Guys and Dolls at Chichester Festival Theatre and has also appeared in the UK and European tours of Cats. Mensah Bediako’s West End credits include One Man Two Guvnors, Clybourne Park and Piaf. Adam Venus has appeared in many musicals. These include Annie Get your Gun at the Young Vic and Company at the Southwark Playhouse. Sion Lloyd’s many West End theatre credits include The Pajama Game, Avenue Q and The Full Monty. Mike Denman has appeared in many West End musicals including The Wizard of Oz, Chicago, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Never Forget and most recently Matilda. Glen Fox has appeared in The Honourable Woman for the BBC and his stage credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream.