Reviewed by Lindsay Burton
As my guest and I were travelling to The Alexandra theatre in Birmingham, we were wondering if Lawrence Kasden and director Thea Sharrock’s musical stage version of The Bodyguard would be anywhere near as scintillating, nail-biting and exhilarating as Mick Jackson’s iconic 1992 film release staring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. The 411 million dollar earner, based on a love story between Rachel Marron, a famous singer, and her bodyguard, former Secret Service agent, Frank Farmer, employed to protect her from the death threats sent by an obsessive stalker, became an all-time favourite across the globe.
Well, where do I begin? The evening started with a loud bang, quite literally! I’m very glad I wasn’t holding a drink at the time as it came as quite a shock and so unexpectedly, be warned! It’s through this loud bang that we meet Frank Farmer (Ben Lewis) and from the first few minutes of his presence on stage, I knew that this actor was very fitting to his role and he would do it complete justice. Very soon after, we were blown away by Rachel Marron (Alexandra Burke), Tim Hatley’s glitzy costumes and spectacular sliding set design, breath-taking pyrotechnics, lithe, talented dancers, Karen Bruce’s snazzy choreography and of course, Burke’s voice! I didn’t know where to look first and wanted to simultaneously watch each and every single person on stage, not wanting to miss a single second of the action! A slight technical hitch delayed the show for only a few short minutes but the ground staff quickly and safely extinguished the onstage gas-projector (a device used to create straight flame effects) to a round of applause from the audience. The show quickly resumed and continued faultlessly for the rest of the evening. Scene after scene, we were met with more talented cast, faultless dancers, gorgeous, glittery costumes and magnificent voices singing the much loved and well-known hits from the movie.
Alexandra Burke really embodied the role of Rachel Marron and very much made the character her own by bringing, in her own words, a “younger and more diva-esque version” to the stage. A big shout out to Emmy Willow (Nicki Marron) for her exquisite vocals – she also happens to be the understudy for the lead role which comes as no surprise. Ben Lewis (Frank Farmer) was another highlight for me. Someone strong and “take-no-nonsense” was mandatory for this role and he definitely played it most successfully! The Stalker (Phil Atkinson) brought the creepy thrill factor to the production and he did so with complete and utter precision, the hairs on the back of my neck were raised from the moment his face appeared on stage. Riotafari Gardner (Fletcher) was the only child on stage and a very talented one at that and quickly captured the hearts of the audience with his on-point dance moves and vocals. Bill Devaney, Tony Scibelli, Sy Spector and Ray Court played by the talented Neil Reidman, Craig Berry, Gary Turner and Simon Cotton also did their roles great justice and the entire cast seemed to be having the time of their lives. The audience couldn’t help joining into the song lyrics and by end of the show, most people were joining in with the cast, dancing, clapping and singing to the renowned melodies.
My guest and I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, by far the best show I’ve seen on stage in a long time! The staff and facilities at the venue are exceptionally helpful and first class! The show was brilliantly directed and executed and I would recommend this to ALL adults.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
The Bodyguard is at The Alexandra in Birmingham from 21 January to 1 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/birmingham or call the box office on 0844 871 3011.
The Alexandra, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, West Midlands, B5 4DS