There’s no doubt the first thing everyone did after leaving the Palace Theatre in Manchester last night was stream Whitney Houston’s greatest hits. The Bodyguard the Musical is many things, but above all, it’s a tribute to the late singer, as Alexandra Burke immaculately bashes out epic musical number after epic musical number throughout the show.
Stepping into Whitney’s most iconic role, Burke masterfully shows her charisma and talent. The X Factor winner has received plenty of praise for her reprisal of Rachel Marron, taking over the role from Beverly Knight in 2014. And you can tell from her performance in Manchester that she was born to play this part. Five years on, Burke like Marron is still the empowered diva who likes to be in charge.
The chemistry between Marron and her bodyguard Frank Farmer, played by Ben Lewis, was certainly believable, as the actors successfully inject the Hollywood drama to their romance. There’s flirting, there’s fire; an emotional first kiss and even a montage! But Burke and Lewis also bring comedy, balancing the cheesiness inherent in adapting a musical from Houston and Kostner’s 1992 drama.
In particular, Lewis’ karaoke version of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was perfectly executed, having the audience laughing alongside Burke at his bad singing. But audiences knew this wouldn’t be the only rendition of the song…
We certainly weren’t lacking for the powerful ballads and breath-taking, choreographed performances. From the soulful duet ‘Run to You’ sung by Burke and Emmy Willow, who plays Rachel’s sister Nicki, to the upbeat medley of ‘Million Dollar Bill/I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, the musical celebrates Whitney’s catalogue of songs in style.
And of course, Burke’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ is everything you hope it would be!
But we can also appreciate Burke’s first claim to fame – a performer who makes singing and dancing simultaneously effortless.
The hugely talented cast is backed by a big-budget production. Through set design, costumes and special effects, the creative team really pulled out all the stops. Particularly evident when Marron’s stalker appears in the club and strobe lights and slow-motion truly set this musical apart. As did the shots of fire during the opening scenes!
When adapting a musical from such an unforgettable film, which featured one of the best singers of all time, there are many ways it could have disappointed. Not to mention casting someone whose theatre career came after music, however, both Burke and The Bodyguard the Musical are sensational. As are the rest of the cast and creatives of the huge production.
The Bodyguard the Musical is in Manchester as part of its UK tour. Don’t miss your chance to watch talent and drama seamlessly blend together in a great night out at the theatre.