The Bodyguard was first released as a film back in 1992 and quickly became a high grossing hit. It’s legacy lives on in the musical theatre tour of The Bodyguard which opened its nationwide tour at the Mayflower Theatre this week. Former X Factor Winner Alexandra Burke returns to theatre to reprise her West End lead role of Rachel Marron – the extremely famous pop star being stalked by a fan. Burke is everything a leading lady, pop star should be and really holds the production together.
The musical tells the story of Marron and her new bodyguard Frank Farmer hired by her manager in the wake of discovering the singer has a stalker who isn’t just playing games. Farmer is played perfectly by Stuart Reid. The pair had me laughing, crying and mesmerized by their sterling performances and amazing chemistry.
Starting with a bang! – (quite literally you might need to brace yourself for that one by the way) and ending in an upbeat encore the contents of this musical is crammed full of hits that everyone young and old knows. Burke does a stellar job of performing the Houston classics and had the whole crowd on it’s feet at the end of I Will Always Love You. Taking to twitter after the show it became apparent that Burke was ill – taking berrocca and lemsip. This did effect her performance slightly in the quieter moments however it didn’t detract from the performance and if I am honestly I doubt many people noticed!
The supporting cast were just as incredible as the leads and special recognition should go to Melissa James’s soulful and smooth renditions especially when singing at the local cabaret bar. Mike Denman who played Rachel’s stalker deserves recognition for his powerful performance. Whilst having few words and sporadic/short screen time, he expertly captures how creepy and terrifying the stalker is.
The production is a showstopper and this is as much down to the set design, lighting, videos and costumes as the acting and singing. I really loved the use of sliding sets that were used for the bars, houses and concert venues. At points the lighting was too bright but on the whole the lighting perfectly highlighted Denman’s short scenes and provided concert like lighting for Burke’s showstoppers including the encore performance of I Wanna Dance With Somebody.
I attend Mayflower musicals quite regularly and never have I seen a standing ovation and dancing crowd quite like it. The whole cast was on stage for the final number joined by the majority of the audience singing and dancing to the Whitney Classic.
The Bodyguard is at the Mayflower until the 28th of February but is likely to be standing room only. We had about 10 people or more standing at our showing and that was only the first few of the run!
If this was ever to return to the Mayflower like some productions do, I would be more than happy to attend again!
To See this Review and more please check out my Theatre Criticism blog – https://criticalcharlotte.wordpress.com.