Review: Bodyguard the Musical

Alexandra Burke

Alexandra Burke

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It started with a bang, ended with a standing ovation, and tapped into every woman’s fantasies along the way.

No wonder Dirty Dancing is looking over its shoulder - The Bodyguard just about has it all.

A cross between a pop concert, a musical, and a night at the flicks, this adaptation of the famous Whitney Houston movie ticks all the right showbiz boxes. Big budget, Britain’s answer to Beyonce (Alexandra Burke) in the lead role (Rachel Marron), there’s pyros, hydraulic lifts and legs that go halfway up Leith Street, too.

Hen party heaven, yes. Still, you can’t deny The Bodyguard is a slick, eye-opening spectacle. Based around a famous singer who hires an uncompromising ex-secret service agent to protect her from an obsessed stalker (not one of those ‘stalkers’ who try to look you up on Facebook you understand), while some elements of the story might seem silly and implausible, it matters little in the grand scheme of things. This is a show. A big show.

With sixteen Whitney numbers thrown into the mix, Houston’s originally over-produced music finds a more soulful outlet in Burke singing them. The 27-year-old brings a warm, down-to-earth quality to her character, which begs the question why she isn’t a megastar by now. That said, Melissa James - who plays Burke’s younger sister Nicki - is, arguably, the more talented singer. Stuart Reid, meanwhile (who plays bodyguard Frank Farmer), looks like he’s operated by remote control.

The iconic scene where Farmer rescues Marron from a club is played up to in the cheesiest, campest way imaginable. But there were some tender moments, as well - Burke and James receiving unexpected applause for the way in which they handled tragedy in the wood cabin segment.

A shape-shifting set brings new, multiple dimensions to how theatre is viewed on the big stage. I’m Every Woman, Queen Of The Night, and I Will Always Love You the obvious song highlights.

However, the closing party songs - whilst making no apology in who this production caters for - gives anyone dying to get up and dance plenty of time to shake their backside.

Until Saturday 10 October

BARRY GORDON