Theatre review: The Bodyguard
Eternal love takes a leap from screen to stage
Taking on the role immortalised by the late Whitney Houston is no mean feat for a first musical lead – but former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke delivers a stunning performance. The Bodyguard musical is based on the 1992 film starring Houston as superstar singer Rachel Marron; when she receives death threats, ex-Secret Service agent Frank Farmer (Kevin Costner) gets assigned as her bodyguard.
The film might have been panned by critics on release, but its soundtrack – featuring classics like ‘I Will Always Love You’ and ‘I’m Every Woman’ – remains one of the best loved of all time. Here, aged just 26, Burke brings a youthful energy to the role of Marron and her warmth and self assurance, contrasted with the stiff professionalism of Stuart Reid as Farmer, draws raucous laughter from the audience.
The contemporary setting allows the dancers – cast as Rachel's backing dancers – to showcase tightly choreographed routines with explosive energy. Staging a musical adapted from a film presents problems when the plot calls for crowd scenes but clever use of lighting and slow motion manages to create a claustrophobic nightclub on the stage.
The early positive vibes of Rachel’s team and the loving interactions with her adorable young son are typically musical sweet but The Bodyguard quickly establishes itself as a thriller. Rachel’s stalker presents a very real threat, his menace increasing with each short appearance in a musical that delivers compelling action alongside powerful female vocals.