RULE NUMBER ONE: Everybody who wishes to see Bodyguard: The Musical must take The Bodyguard Appreciation Test. Full marks must be obtained for a pass. Those who pass will be allowed entrance into the theatre as part of a maximum of two. Discussion amongst these two people will be limited to hushed whispers of reverential admiration. Groups of people will not be permitted and must instead apply for Mamma Mia! tickets.*
*Demographics unable to apply for The Bodyguard Appreciation Test include Straight Men, who apparently have not learnt that the theatre is not the woods- noisy consumption of sweets with wrappers is unacceptable- and Foreign Women, who have a tendency to sing along WITH THE WRONG WORDS. Also unacceptable.
RULE NUMBER TWO: Watching the performance through the camera of your iPhone means that you will be escorted out of the theatre to find your fucking sense, you cultureless oaf. Who wants to see your Earlybird-filtered blurry stages shots and your shaky footage of All the Man I Need? Did you really pay £75 to sit five rows back from the stage so that you could put your phone between you and the action? Get out.
RULE NUMBER THREE: This is not GCSE drama. The genius of The Bodyguard as a film is that Whitney Houston’s sister is forever in the background; an almost unremarkable character. That is why, when it is finally revealed to be her behind the assassination attempts on The Voice, it is all the more chilling. She feels unworthy, unappreciated, un-noticed- that’s why she tries to pop off her sister. THE AUDIENCE BARELY EVEN NOTICES HER UNTIL THAT POINT, and that’s why we get all damn, bitch got a point: who is she again?
The stage production does lots of one-sister-on-one-side-of-the-stage-and-the-other-sister-singing-on-the-other-side-of-the-stage action, with the (frankly very poor) Kevin Costner substitute in the middle. It’s like having the writer sat next to us, poking our ribs and saying over and over again do you get it? Do you get that they are conflicted? DO YOU UNDERSTAND THE PAIN THAT THEY WANT THE SAME MAN?
Leaving the audience sore and bruised is in direct violation of Good Stage Adaptations. Give us some intellectual credit. This is, after all, The Bodyguard, not The Cherry Orchard.
RULE NUMBER FOUR: Having sex in the box is forbidden. And, should you have sex in the box, it will be required that you do this quietly. The man in row T reserves the right to shout up at you to, and I quote, “shut the fuck up you guys in the top box,” without reproach, should this rule be ignored. Yelling, mid-bonk, that, “NO, IF YOU DON’T FUCKING SHUT UP I’M GOING TO COME DOWN THERE AND FUCKING TAKE YOU OUT,” is not only distracting for those of us trying to enjoy the overly-produced, simplified, and largely sacrilegious production, but also impolite. Have some manners. And wear a condom.
Incidences of this kind will be held on record as evidence that straight men should not be eligible for the Bodyguard Appreciation Test. They are, quite frankly, unworthy. But also, for the record, bravo Man In Row T for speaking up and getting the horny couple thrown out. They definitely failed the test. You can stay.
Also: yup. This actually happened.
RULE NUMBER FIVE: No bullying wives. I get it, guys. You came down on a coach trip from Peterborough and you spent the day making your begrudging other half hold your handbags and pass comment on which Per Una skirt they prefer more, the taupe or the puce. By 9.45 p.m. they are tired, and really just want to get back because Pete mentioned that there are works on the M1. But goddamnit, you brought them here, so take some responsibility for them. Exaggerated yawning, finger-tapping, and leg stretching will not be tolerated, but bless them, they’ve tried their best. The blame then, lies squarely on your WI club.
RULE NUMBER SIX: Don’t mess with the music. The whole magic of the film- aside from that BRILLIANT moment where Whitney says, all breathy and quasi-seductive, ‘A bodyguard must know very little peace,’ before Kevin ruins a perfectly good silk scarf- is that I Will Always Love You is the final song. It’s sad, a song “about somebody always leaving somebody.” The Bodyguard is storytelling gold because there is no resolution except the resolution that sometimes love isn’t enough to keep people together. Sometimes sister-killers and one night stands and ten year-old sons and underlying attachment issues are everything that stands between you and happiness, and ain’t squat to be done about it.
Therefore, ending the show on a note made all the more poignant by that epic key change is TOTALLY UNDONE when the encore is a rousing rendition of Wanna Dance With Somebody where you make everybody actually dance. There should be no dancing at the end of The Bodyguard. There should only be sad, single tears, and wistful staring into the distance.
These are the rules.
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