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Oh We Wanna Dance With Everybody

Two gunshots silence the auditorium at the Sydney Lyric Theater.

The musical “The Bodyguard”, opening to the Australian audience, begins just as it ends: spectacular and captivating.

I went into the performance with no expectations, having not seen the original 1992 Warner Bros. movie version of “The Bodyguard” starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

I was amazed by the number of famous songs that were performed throughout the evening by none other than former Australian Idol star Paulini Curuenavuli.

Now these songs are no piece of cake. Whitney Houston, who originally sang them, was an incredible talent. Yet Paulini does an extraordinary job serving up 14 of the 16 vocal parts, whilst giving each one her own personal touch.

Paulini plays Rachel Marron, a famous singer, who is unknowingly stalked by a passionate admirer. The team around her knows of the danger posed by the anonymous stalker and hires additional security personnel for her safety. This is where Frank Farmer – the bodyguard – comes into the picture, played by “Neighbours” star Kip Gamblin.

Initially skeptical and disapproving of each other, Rachel and Frank romantically collide in my favorite scene of the play: The Karaoke Night, which is an altered variation to the movie.

The two go out on a date, adding humor and emotion to the show. With the scene concluding in a moment of tension, when Rachel is identified by teenagers in the bar and a photo of her is snapped and put on Instagram, this brilliant adaption increases the musical’s relevance for today’s society.

Side characters such as Fletcher, Rachel’s son, and the captivating dancers add to the musical aspect of the show and kept the audience engaged and in good humor.

Producers John Frost, Michael Harrison and David Ian, along with world-renowned director Frank Thompson’s use of theatrical elements such as slow motion and strobe lighting, intensify moments and make the stage appear as a real concert stage for Rachel Marron to live out her fictional stardom.

The highlight of the night and a real goosebump moment was Paulini’s performance of “I Will Always Love You”; a song so many have unsuccessfully attempted to cover, yet Paulini delivered like a true natural.

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The quality and class of Paulini’s vocal performances baffled me and the rest of the audience from the very first note, all the way through to the last song in which everyone was encouraged to sing along and “Dance with Somebody”.

This musical is a must-see for all ages.

Fans of the original movie, which I proceeded to watch the same night, won’t be disappointed in this adapted theater production. Thrills, emotion, vocal excellence and stage chemistry included, the cast will be coming to Melbourne at the end of August, so be sure not to miss it!

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