Alexandra Burke takes to the stage and exudes star quality with her stunning vocals, a match for the iconic Whitney Houston.
The show quite literally starts with a bang, the explosive opening meant I soon realised it wasn’t going to be another cheesy jukebox musical.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the film, The Bodyguard tells the story of a young star Rachel Marron who is under threat from an obsessed stalker. She enlists Frank Farmer to protect her as her bodyguard. Whilst she originally finds him irritating and restrictive, once she delves deeper into his character and sees his lighter side, they fall in love.
The Bodyguard is intensely gripping, it’s the first musical I’ve seen where I’ve found myself on the edge of my seat due to the intensity. The stalker is portrayed so stylistically with slick movement and chilling music, it has a real impact and doesn’t feel overly staged.
The staging for the production is magnificent, with the use of CGI and moving screens, the transitions are smooth and engaging and the potency of the dramatic scenes isn’t lost.
Alexandra Burke plays the iconic role of Rachel Marron and belts out the Whitney Houston classics divinely. She is vocally flawless as she really captures Whitney Houston’s tone whilst putting her own edgier and fresher spin on it. After reviewing her in Birmingham a few months ago her acting has improved a considerable amount, she flawlessly belts out some of the incredible numbers such as I Have Nothing, One Moment in Time, and the exceptionally moving I Will Always Love You. I did like how she modernised the character, she is sassy, fierce and a strong woman, which is depicted through her electric energy.
Stuart Reid plays Frank Farmer, the emotionally guarded bodyguard. Reid’s character development throughout the show is very strong, certain scenes such as the hilarious karaoke bar scene allow his personality to seep through his robust exterior. This enables the audience to warm to Frank vicariously through Rachel Marron as the show progresses, creating a deeper understanding of their connection. The chemistry between Rachel’s son Fletcher and Frank is truly heartwarming, he plays a father figure role towards him and this made me really route for Rachel and Frank’s relationship.
The stand out performance for me was the stunning Melissa James who plays Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron. Nicki is overshadowed by her sister who is constantly in the spotlight, she immaculately sings Saving All My Love For You which appears effortless. Her characterisation is convincing and allows the audience to emphathise with her, her acting is compelling, particularly in the really tricky scenes that could easily have been overacted.
The Bodyguard is chilling, fast paced, emotional and packed with energy. I can’t fault the fluidity of the movement and the staging, which at times makes the audience feel like they are at a live concert as opposed to seeing a musical. The choreography is remarkable, particularly in I’m Every Woman where the energy is on fire and the strength of every single movement creates a spectacle.
The finale of I Wanna Dance With Somebody has the whole audience up dancing and singing along, a fantastic ending to an excellent show. The Bodyguard has every aspect of a musical that is needed and it leaves you feeling uplifted and empowered despite also following the characters through an emotional journey.
The Bodyguard is on at the Palace Theatre until the 9th of January and ticket details can be found here.