Anybody of a certain age will be familiar with the film version of ‘The Bodyguard’. It can often be risky territory for a show which relies so heavily on a film made some twenty odd years before to find its audience. However, the musical version of ‘The Bodyguard’ relieves itself of these restrictions with it’s tour through the late Whitney Houston’s greatest hits and dazzling use of pyro-technics, choreography and multi-media trickery.
The show has two major trading points, Whitney Houston’s songs and former X-Factor winner; Alexandra Burke who takes the title role of pop sensation Rachel Marron, who requires extra security after receiving death threats from an obsessed stalker. This epic musical features a whole host of show-stopping numbers including One Moment In Time, Saving All My Love, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and of course – I Will Always Love You. The inclusion of other Houston songs allows the show to trade further on the familiarity that it relies on.
Alexandra Burke plays the diva-ish main role extremely well. It must be difficult for a singer in her own right to portray the songs of another who resonates so deeply in the public consciousness, whilst maintaining her own unique style. Her role is essentially to become a pastiche to Whitney Houston’s performance – which she does, managing to emulate her distinctive breathy voice and mannerisms whilst making the role her own.
The role of the bodyguard, played by Kevin Costner in the 1992 film version, was played by Stuart Reid. Reid unlike Burke enjoyed more freedom in his role and was allowed to create his own version of the character. Reid’s interpretation of the closed-off yet sensitive Frank Farmer successfully underscored the role of the leading lady, and their on-stage chemistry made for some red-hot audience viewing.
Rachel John stole the show at times as Nikki Marron, Rachel’s younger sister who has always been left distinctly out of the limelight. Her rendition of Run to You which is a duet with Alexandra Burke was breathtaking and despite her somewhat small collection of theatre credits hers is most certainly a name to watch out for as an up and coming star of the stage.
Max Fincham was adorable as Rachel Marron’s son Fletcher and was comfortable and confident in his role and in both singing and dancing solos. Beautiful moments of tenderness were created between him and Alexandra Burke along with the rest of the cast members who aided in creating a polished and flawless performance.
The incredible moving set was designed by the award-winning Tim Hatley and was a phenomenal spectacle which included huge projections of the stalker creating a powerful dramatic tension throughout the entire auditorium and created a nice illusion to the film.
This spectacular romantic thriller will leave the audience on the edge of their seats, from the chilling appearance of Rachel’s stalker to the romantic tension between her and Frank. For fans of Whitney Houston’s songs this a must-see musical that will not leave you disappointed. If you’re not a fan, you will be by the end of this outstanding show!
The Bodyguard is at The Liverpool Empire until 7th May 2016 and you can book tickets at: www.atgtickets.com/liverpool
Following Liverpool, the tour concludes with Leeds, Norwich, Eastbourne and Monaco.
Reviewed in Liverpool by Louis Raschke & Kath Walton. Photography by Paul Coltas.