The Bodyguard Review
The international, award-winning smash-hit musical based on the blockbuster film, The Bodyguard is visiting Southend!
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, (or are under the age of 19), the story of The Bodyguard is familiar enough and translates beautifully to the stage. The point of view is switched, so superstar Rachel Marron (played by Alexandra Burke), is front and centre of the show. As we all know she is receiving threats from a love stricken and very dangerous fan, so her management call in Frank Farmer (played here by Benoît Maréchal) to oversee her security and protection. There’s a bit of prima donna attitude, a few scenes of arguing and she then (obvs.) falls in love with Frank. So far so familiar.
However, the musical brings the story forward to present day (everyone now has mobile phones, and there are references to social media and the Iraq war) and focussing the story on Burke’s character to the forefront rather than the bodyguard shows the strength of the production.
This is a big show. The dynamic opening number greets the audience with a loud “BOOM” and the cast emerge from smoke in glittery gold costumes slithering their way to a dramatic version of “Queen of the Night”. The arrangement of the music is very well defined. Songs have been bought into the 21st century and have a lot more heft than they do in the original film. The show version of “Queen of the Night” is far more funky and powerful and “I’m Every Woman” owes more to the originally Chaka Kahn version than the cover used in the film and niftily blends it’s way into a cheeky salsa influenced show-stopper.
The Bodyguard’s finest asset was always going to be the music. Micha Richardson, plays Nikki Marron who has a fabulous voice in her own right and when she duets with Burke it’s power-ballad heaven perfect for those who love their musicals tinged with a bit of gospel.
The Whitney Houston tracks from the film are blended with other tracks from her back catalogue to great effect. Alexandra Burke’s voice does actual justice to the massive shoes of Whitney Houston, and during speaking scenes her accent is spot-on, often mimicking the beats and tones of the original dialogue that many will know so well.
The set is always changing - framing the the show’s key moments with some cool pyrotechnics, moody lighting and videos that enhance the story, particularly the ‘off-stage’ glimpses of the lurking, stalker (played by Phil Atkinson).
Ultimately it’s in the hands of Alexander Burke and she whips the crowd up and commanded the stage winning a standing ovation, cheers, singing and dancing from the audience, who were on their feet singing along to the encore clearly loving every second.
If you never made it to the West End to see the show, then make sure to catch it on it’s tour. You won’t be disappointed.