REVIEW: The Bodyguard
WORDS BY BIANKA FARMAKIS
There’s something soothing about witnessing your favorite fourth place Australian Idol contestant of all time perform live. It’s an illusory, sensory experience, too incredible to truly verbalize the exact feeling.
This is how I felt watching Paulini play Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard.
The musical rendition of the popular 1992 film starring the late Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, follows the glamourous adventures of popstar and Academy award nominee Rachel Marron. When Rachel’s life takes a turn from the fabulous to the frightening, with the impending murderous threat of a psychopathic stalker, she becomes closely monitored by Frank (me to me: “please feel me up”) Farmer.
Before I recount the plot more, I should just quickly highlight that if a man who looked like the blonde, six foot six Adonis playing Rachel’s stalker ever followed me, I’d only hire a bodyguard to part take in the ensuing threesome.
Thematically, this is not a musical of substance, so if you’re looking for the kind of depth that distracts you from your everyday shallowness, go and watch Anne Hathaway die in Les Mis. Australia’s production of The Bodyguard is one solely of smoke, mirrors and back to back entertainment, flitted with captivating visual displays, dance numbers and tasteful melodrama clad in brilliant covers of songs that span Whitney Houston’s entire discography.
For those of you that are still reveling about the infamous moment enshrined in Australian Entertainment History when Dicko called Paulini fat for wearing a figure hugging gold dress, fear no more. Our favorite runner up for Australian Idol scored a standing ovation for her impeccable vocal talents, belting out incredible ballads to the sold out Lyric Theatre. Mark Holden’s ‘touchdowns’ were no match for a crowd of hundreds that were all clapping, cheering and begging to dance with somebody that loved them as much as they loved Paulini’s performance.
Safe to say though, as glowing as my praise is, there were performances that lacked the same fervor as others. Prinnie Stevens, though a talent in her own respect, brought a beautiful subtlety to her character as the overshadowed sister Nicki. Her performance was so devastatingly subtle that it was completely overlooked and safe to say, she was outshined in the script, performance and her eventual ***SPOILER ALERT*** death. Even when it came down to an illustrious love triangle between the sisters and Frank, sad to say, though vocally gifted, Prinnie Stevens’ performance rendered her always a bridesmaid and never a bride.
Also, while the American accents were well done across the board, the boy playing ‘Fletcher’, Marron’s son, to put it bluntly, should’ve had his lines cut because his voice was so atrocious. That may be harsh to say for an eight-year-old, but I couldn’t help but be personally offended by how awful it was.
It should be noted that, diverse performances aside, the costuming is one of substance – think an abundance of sequins, and a Bodyguard that goes from suits that scream protective to a leather jacket that screams provocative. In the final number Paulini adorns a silver gown that’s description can only be done justice by likening it to the Dolce and Gabanna dress Naomi Campbell wore for her community service court order after she threw a phone at a maid.
The final song will melt any heart of stone and bring any eye of steal to tears. I, for one, am a balanced baller when it comes to the fine arts, but a fine woman that stands proudly and proclaims she will always love me, clad in a sequined ball gown is my personal weakness.
If not for the show, go see The Bodyguard solely for the key change in the final chorus of I Will Always Love You. I guarantee it will be a moment more beautiful than the birth of your first-born child, or the death of your worst enemy.