The Bodyguard is best known in film format 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. The stage show is even more spectacular than the film and is coming back to Milton Keynes Theatre this week starring Alexandra Burke in the lead 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. Her son, Fletcher likes Frank and she watches their friendship grow and that warms him to her 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 including burst of fire and flashing lights. The dancers are stunning and really give the feel of a huge show. It’s a fantastic start to the show. Alexandra is exceptional in the role of Rachel. Her American accent is faultless and she plays the diva role really well, offering a range of emotions and despite her diva attitude, Alexandra cleverly makes Rachel very likeable. One of the most outstanding moments was saved ‘til the end of the show. I Will Always Love You was amazing and you could hear a pin drop in the audience as she held the pauses. At risk of sounding 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 Benoit Marcechal. 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 but he also felt vulnerable. Benoit gave us all we wanted for Frank and he did it with style and panache. Rachel’s sister, 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 Micha Richardson and was a very accomplished performer, giving a great rendition of Saving All My Love. The Stalker was played by Phil Atkinson and he was a fit stalker if that is a thing although Phil did give a sinister air but he certainly doesn’t fit the normal stalker profile. I thought to myself he could stalk me anytime!
The use of the stage and sets, compartmentalising scenes is very clever. Alongside the use of lighting, smoke and fire for the big numbers and video offering gravitas for the stalker moments, the stage and lighting are really impactful. It was almost an immersive experience. And for all you Whitney fans, you will not be disappointed with the amount of fabulous songs including The Greatest Love Of All, One Moment In Time, Saving All My Love For You, How Will I Know, I Have Nothing, I’m Every Woman and my favourite, the opening number, Queen Of The Night. The Finale was I Wanna Dance With Somebody and everyone is on their feet. And of course, the shining star that is I Will Always Love You is a diamond in a cave of jewels.
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 a standing ovation. It speaks volumes of the quality of this show.
This show offers everything; drama, music, a story with heart and amazing effects. It’s like having a stadium performance in your living room. The Bodyguard is on at Milton Keynes Theatre until 23 March 2019.