Image courtesy of Paul Coltas.
Based on the 1992 movie of the same name, The Bodyguard – The Musical provides a fun, albeit occasionally emotional, evening for theatre goers, Whitney Houston lovers and Alexandra Burke fans alike.
The musical is faithful to the plot of the film, featuring a succession of Whitney Houston’s greatest hits. Ex-Secret Service agent Frank Farmer (Stuart Reid) is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron (Alexandra Burke) from an unknown and dangerous stalker. The noticeable onstage chemistry between Burke and Reid creates convincing portrayal of love blossoming between the mismatched pair.
Burke sizzles as Rachel Marron. 2008 winner of the X Factor and pop star in her own right, she is in her element performing as Rachel during the musical – most notably in the numbers ‘Queen of the Night’ and ‘I’m Every Woman’. Another highlight was Burke’s stripped-back performance of ‘I Have Nothing’: beginning as a karaoke performance during a date with Frank, the bar fades away and Rachel is left singing only to him.
The entire audience was undoubtedly waiting for Burke’s rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’. During the instrumental a video montage of Rachel and Frank’s relationship is played. Although tending towards the cheesy, this is forgiven as it facilitates a costume change for Burke. Finishing the number on an elevated platform, no member of the audience could doubt her outstanding vocal talent. Besides her outstanding voice, however, Burke also demonstrates that she can indeed act. Her interpretation of Rachel oozes diva whilst also remaining believable as a frightened mother and young woman.
The show undeniably revolves around Rachel, as reflected by the number of songs Burke sings. However, other performers also deserve credit. Although Nicki Marron may be overshadowed by her pop-star sister, Melissa James, who portrays her, should not be similarly overlooked. She gives an extremely commendable performance, showcasing great vocal talent, in ‘Saving All My Love’ and ‘All at Once’. The duet between the two sisters, ‘Run to You’, is another highlight with the two actresses’ voices blending well together.
Reid, whilst convincing as the bodyguard, is given the opportunity to show off his softer side through his comical performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ at the karaoke bar, which had the audience in stitches. Mike Denman (The Stalker) and T’Jai Adu-Yeboah (Rachel’s son) also deserve commendation for their, respectively, chilling and endearing performances. Everything about the production is incredibly slick with the lighting being used effectively and the staging being manipulated to create different settings.
Particularly masterful are the flat white screens used to depict Rachel’s mansion, giving the stage the illusion of much greater depth. It is well worth buying a ticket to The Bodyguard this autumn as no audience member can fail to be thoroughly entertained.