Romance, danger and Whitney’s greatest hits at The Hawth

Stuart Reid as Frank and Alexandra Burke as Rachel in The Bodyguard. Picture by Uli Weber
Stuart Reid as Frank and Alexandra Burke as Rachel in The Bodyguard. Picture by Uli Weber

It’s the one we’ve all been waiting for as The Bodyguard hits The Hawth in Crawley (November 24-December 5) on the back of outstandingly-brilliant reviews and word of mouth.

The show, based on the film that so famously starred the late Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, has been taking stages by storm – the tale of former Secret Service agent-turned-bodyguard Frank Farmer who 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… and all to a soundtrack of Whitney’s greatest hits.

Three-time Brit nominee and X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke plays Rachel; Stuart Reid continues a long and happy run in the show as Frank.

“I did a year in town and I have been on tour with it since February,” says Stuart.

“I very much enjoy it. It’s a great bunch, both creatively and on stage. I think the Whitney songs lend themselves so beautifully to the stage adaptation. We have got a great creative team that have woven the songs beautifully into the narrative. What we have is a great story that has only had to be slightly tailored to work for the stage, and we have actually got more of Whitney’s songs than the film had. Whitney was very aware of the show before her passing. That’s why the producers have been able to include more of her songs. She just said ‘If you want to use more, feel free.’”

Initially in London, Stuart worked alongside Beverley Knight in the Rachel role. Alexandra came in for the last three months and then the tour.

“Beverley is known as the queen of British soul, with a beautiful personality. I had the best seat in the house watching her perform. Obviously she and Alexandra are in a different age bracket, but both their approaches lend themselves really well to the role. When Alexandra came in, we knew she could sing, but it was about how she was going to tackle the acting side. She told me she was offered the part of Rachel a year before she took the role, but she decided she wanted to go away and take acting lessons to give herself a proper chance to take it on. She went away, and then I was there for her rehearsals and her tech. She knew she was out of her depth with the acting, but when she came back, she was brilliant.”

So… compare and contrast!

“It’s maybe in the way that they deliver a line that they differ, their approaches, their different techniques, but there is no one way of playing Rachel. Beverley has got the most soulful, powerful voice, but she is so lovely. You think she is not going to have the diva side (you need for the show), and then she brought out this monster. She was fantastic, and the same with Alexandra.”

As for the part of Frank, Stuart has seen the challenge as trying not to let him appear wooden: “He could come across as robotic and a bit cold. But there are actually different layers to Frank. He is a very efficient guy as a result of his professional training. He has gone from secret service to close protection, and we have this guy at the top of his game. But it would be easy to make him seem a bit wooden. You have got to bring him to life!”

Visit {http://www.parkwoodtheatres.co.uk/theatre/productionpage.aspx?hid=4&nid=6341_2&zid=2 |www.hawth.co.uk|website}

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