The Bodyguard, the Musical: A Review

The award-winning musical based on Warner Bros. 1992 Whitney Houston movie, The Bodyguard, comes to Liverpool’s Empire Theatre for a short time only. The show originally opened back in December 2012, at the Adelphi Theatre in London, in which it became a favourite amongst theatre-goers. Director Thea Sharrock brings back the incredible UK tour so everyone can witness this epic love story. Returning to the titular role of Rachel Marron after incredible success in the West End, Alexandra Burke shines as she belts out the Whitney classics like I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘I Have Nothing’ and the iconic ‘I Will Always Love You’.

The show takes Lawrence Kasdan’s original script and Alexander Dinelaris’ novel to create the beautifully powerful and moving story of former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer, who is hired as a bodyguard to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Two strong personalities clash constantly in the first act, as both fight to be in charge, however as their bickering subsides, love starts to blossom.

The show opens to a Rachel Marron concert, and you’re instantly immersed into her diva-esque lifestyle. We soon discover that she has a fanatical stalker (Phil Atkinson). Because of this, Frank Farmer (Benoit Marechal) is hired as Rachel’s personal bodyguard to her and her family, her sister Nicki (Micha Richardson) and son Fletcher. Frank seemingly starts to control and take over Rachel’s life, forbidding to leave the house so he can protect her. Rachel has other ideas, as she ignores Frank and continues her ordinary routines. As a result, the stalker progressively moves closer to the Marron family. By the end of the first act, Rachel’s life is threatening once again as the stalker closes in, when who should swoop in and save her? Frank Farmer of course. After a hilarious scene at the karaoke bar, in which Marechal attempts to sing – or should I say talk – his way through I Will Always Love You’, since his character cannot sing, Burke takes centre stage, showing the more intimate and personal side to Rachel in her powerful rendition of I Have Nothing. It is this moment that the two characters realise their feelings for one another, which leaves Nicki heartbroken, as she is always in her sister’s shadow.

[Paul Coltas]

The second act opens with Rachel and Frank arguing over where their relationship is heading. The two leave after a heated argument, as Rachel goes to Miami to perform another concert. In this sequence, Burke shows off her Strictly Come Dancing experience in a feisty salsa routine to ‘I’m Every Woman, a much-needed moment of enjoyment before things take a turn for the worst. As the threat of the Stalker looms over the Marron family, Frank moves Rachel, Nicki and Fletcher out of their home after the stalker manages to get into the house undercover, offering a moment of quietude and domestic bliss before the event of a tragic death of one of the main characters. Frank and Rachel realise the danger of the situation and discover that the stalker is going to attempt assassination at the Oscars. The show ends with Frank finally dealing with the Stalker, however his and Rachel’s relationship was never meant to be. Queue the moment everyone has been waiting for… Burke ends the show in a stunning, emotional performance of I Will Always Love You’, as she is elevated from the stage, with the light beams shining from behind her like rays of sun, ending this realistic and moving musical with the sad message that Rachel will always love Frank, even if they can never be together.

With choreography by Karen Bruce and orchestrations by Chris Egan, the music of the show truly makes you feel like you’re witnessing the legendary Whitney Houston bless the stage once again. Whilst no one can replace Houston, Burke does a fantastic job. Other brilliant moments from the musical as the breathtakingly beautiful One Moment In Time’, and the incredibly stunning voice from Micha Richardson, serenading the audience with her rendition of Saving All My Love’ and heart-wrenching ‘All At Once’.

The Bodyguard, the UK Tour, is at Liverpool Empire Theatre from 26th February until the 9th March. For tickets and more information, visit the website here:

https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/the-bodyguard/liverpool-empire/

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