Theatre Review: The Bodyguard, Empire Theatre, Liverpool

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Image Source: ATG

Format: Romantic Thriller
Genre: Musical
Date: February 27 2019
Location: Empire Theatre, Liverpool

This is the second time I have seen The Bodyguard at Liverpool’s Empire Theatre, but after an impressive experience last time, I wanted to take my daughter to share the same and enjoy the show as I had.

The production follows the original screenplay of the 1992 film fairly closely with a couple of exceptions, along with the addition of more up-to-date Whitney Houston numbers such as Million Dollar Bill that younger fans would be familiar with.

The memorable story of Rachel Marron’s stalker and would-be assassination was ably performed by a talented and capable cast, led by X Factor winner Alexandra Burke playing Rachel. Alexandra has played this role for a good couple of years now (interspersed with a stint in Chicago), and you could see she feels comfortable in the role, and manages the trademark Whitney power ballads and more gentle lower register numbers with ease. Along with excellent acting, there is sustained energy throughout the performance, and the Liverpool crowd responded enthusiastically which always adds to the atmosphere.

Rachel is a successful singer, looking for her third Academy Award at the Oscars. She is surrounded by a supporting team, including her sister Nicky (played by Micha Richardson). Unfortunately, Nicky is suffering from the green-eyed monster regarding Rachel’s success, as she too aspired to become a professional singer but was overshadowed by Rachel’s talent and is delegated to singing at a karaoke bar. This is impounded by the appearance of Frank Farmer (a very charismatic Benoit Marechal) who is employed as Rachel’s bodyguard, to whom Nicky has taken a shine to, but unfortunately he only has eyes for Rachel.

Micha performs really well as the downtrodden sibling with crystal clear vocals, and is joined by Rachel’s son Fletcher (this role is played by various young stars throughout the tour), and his singing and dancing proved very popular with the audience. The stalker (whose impressive abs received a very inappropriate cheer at a moment of suspense) was played by Phil Atkinson.

The choreography by Karen Bruce is really West End quality, with a believable set and excellent lighting which really adds to the moments of suspense and menace throughout the show. Alexandra shows off some of her Strictly credentials throughout with superb dance moves, before taking things down a notch for a moving version of I Will Always Love You which had the audience on their feet to applaud.

The orchestra were brilliant and the costume changes are amazing, with Alexandra Burke changing from a casual outfit to full-on sequinned glory before our eyes on stage, and the finale is fabulous: I’m Every Woman had the crowd back on their feet hands in their air and clapping till the very end.

My daughter wasn’t disappointed, and we would definitely recommend the show for an electrifying night out, particularly for Whitney fans.

Overall Rating: 9/10 – Outstanding