It might be almost eight years since mega star Whitney Houston passed away but her legacy lives on in many ways, none more so than in The Bodyguard the Musical.
The stage show, based on the hit 1992 film starring Houston, has been enjoying a huge success since it opened in London’s West End and has toured the UK twice due to popular demand.
Returning to Manchester to star in the lead role for the second time is former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke and it’s a definite treat to catch her play this part again.
Burke was born to be Rachel Marron, the pop Diva who can belt out a tune like no other, dance till she sizzles and possess sass to the max! From the moment she steps out on stage she commands the audience and by golly – they can’t get enough of her.
If you were just a baby in the 90s or out partying the Madchester days away, let me break down the back story of The Bodyguard.
There’s a stalker on the loose and he’s after superstar singer Marron who is oblivious to the fact this is all happening. She thinks she ‘s invincible and only has her sights on one thing, winning at this years’ Oscars.
Cue a new bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Ben Lewis), who isn’t fazed by her fame and is here to do a job…keeping her safe. Sparks fly as they fight like cat and dog and then realise there’s something more to their relationship…
Yes, fellas, it’s a bit of chick flick story but there’s no denying the songs are spot on. Houston’s back catalogue of hits are a plenty, from ‘I’m Every Woman’ to ‘I Have Nothing’ – plus there’s even the inclusion of added Whitney tracks not in the movie, like ‘Million Dollar Bills’ which is a real treat for fans.
Burke proves she can sing them all with ease and blows the audience away with her rendition of the most famous track of the show ‘I Will Always Love You’.
Whilst Alexandra might be the star here there’s no doubt that the rest of the cast have upped their game too. Emmy Willow as Rachel’s sister (who is stuck in her shadow), shows off some incredible vocals in ‘Saving All My Love for You’ and ‘All the Man I Need’ plus youngster Caleb Williams who plays Rachel’s son Fletcher is adorable as he breakdances around the stage and lights it up with his winning smile.
Ben Lewis does a great job as Frank Farmer, especially as it was a role made so iconic by Kevin Costner in the movie. Lewis shakes off the shackles with ease though, creating his own kind of charm and it works – the audience is rooting for him to get together with Rachel and most of them are sat there wishing they had a bodyguard just like him!
There’s some wonderful choreography throughout by Karen Bruce which really makes you believe like you are at a Rachel Marron full on live concert; the dancers are impressive and their high energy is relentless, especially as there are a number of big routines for them to carry out and an encore to boot.
Elsewhere a big nod must go to set designer Tim Hatley who manages to give the show the cinematic feel it requires, complete with sliding screens that make areas look like they are being viewed through a film camera and huge screens that project video images of the cast.
The whole experience of going to see The Bodyguard The Musical is the closest you can feel to being in the film; you feel like you are part of the action, you jump out of your seat when gunshots are fired and you can’t help but get up on your feet for a dance at the end.
If you missed the show in Manchester last time, make sure you don’t miss it again.
It’s a great alternative to the plethora of festive offerings in theatre at this time of year and yet it’s still a production which will get you into the party spirit!
Runs at Manchester’s Palace Theatre until 4th January 2020