The Bodyguard is best known as a film starring Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston. In 1992, it became the second highest grossing film worldwide and the soundtrack sold more than 45 million copies. In June 2014, Alexandra Burke took over the role of Rachel in the stage show. Alexandra Burke shot to fame winning X- Factor in 2008, breaking sales for her song ‘Hallelujah’ which sold 105 copies in 24 hours. Interestingly Alexandra sites Whitney Houston as one of her influences so it was a natural progression for her to take on the role of Rachel Marron, an award winning singer and Alexandria’s own success story adds another quality to the role.
The Bodyguard tells the story of Rachel Marron who is an award winning singer whose ‘people’ take on a new bodyguard (Frank) when Rachel starts to receive threatening letters and a dress goes missing from her dressing room. Rachel doesn’t like these new changes to her routine and rebels against them, not realising she is putting herself in danger as she is unaware of the substantial threat. She has a young son who likes Frank and she can see their friendship grow and through that warms to him a little. Meanwhile, the stalker gets closer and closer to Rachel, eventually getting inside her house. What happens next? You will need to see the show to find out!
The opening scene takes your breath away as Rachel performs Queen of the Night with all the effects of a massive stadium gig; Alexandra honing her inner Beyoncé. Alexandra is exceptional in the role of Rachel. Her American accent was faultless and she played the diva role really well, offering a range of emotions, but the outstanding moment was ‘I will always love you’ where to sound like an X-factor judge, she knocked it out of the ball park and made it her own! Fabulous performance. And a word for the costume designer who really gave it their all – amazing amount of costume changes to make a diva worth her weight in Grammy’s!
Frank, the bodyguard was played by Stuart Reid. He was perfect for the role, giving a real cool, almost offish manner in his role. Even his walk felt like a ‘bodyguard walk’. He was totally believable. Rachel has a sister called Nicki who could also sing but instead works for her sister as there isn’t enough room for two divas in the family. Nicki is played by Rachel John and was a very accomplished performer, giving a great rendition of Saving all my love. Fletcher is Rachel’s son and is played by several children over the shows but tonight featured Mickell Stewart-Grimes. He was the star of the show and really looked comfortable on the stage.
The use of the stage, compartmentalising each scene was a very clever effect. The use of lighting, smoke and fire also gave atmosphere. The video really impacted the gravitas of the situation during the stalker moments. It was an immersive experience. And for all you Whitney fans, you will not be disappointed with the amount of fabulous songs including All at once, Greatest love of all, I have nothing, How will I know, I want to dance with somebody, Queen of the night, So emotional, Saving all my love and of course, I will always love you.
It may have been a Wednesday night in Milton Keynes but the audience was phenomenal and much more like a Saturday night audience, cheering, clapping, singing and one person gave a standing ovation just before the interval. It speaks volumes of the quality of this show.
This review was originally published for About Milton Keynes website.