Since its world premiere in London’s West End in 2012, The Bodyguard has been nominated for four Olivier Awards, and played an 18-month UK and Ireland tour, before returning to the West End.
It stars X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, whose debut single Hallelujah reached number one and sold over one million copies in the UK (a first for a British female soloist) and who, just last year, shimmied her way to the final of Strictly Come Dancing. This isn’t the first time she’s wowed Theatre Royal audiences either – she previously performed this role during the musical’s run in 2015, and starred as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act in 2017.
I went along knowing that the show was based on the Oscar-nominated 1992 film (which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner), but having never actually seen the film myself. I hadn’t even had a chance to look up what it was about, so had little idea what to expect. On the hottest and stickiest day of the year so far, all I’m really hoping is that we see an enjoyable show – and that the auditorium has air conditioning.
As everyone but me seems to know, The Bodyguard tells the story of Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge – and sparks soon start to fly. A romantic thriller, The Bodyguard features a host of classics songs including One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I Will Always Love You, and – my personal favourite – I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
Alexandra Burke is the star of the show as Rachel Marron, but there are other performances which deserve equal mention. Micha Richardson (who plays Rachel’s sister, Nicki Marron) has a truly fabulous voice, and gives a great performance throughout; Benoit Marechal (as Frank Farmer) delivers a deliberately awful (and very funny) rendition of I Will Always Love You; and the young actor who plays Rachel’s son is both believable and endearing – often a tricky feat for a child actor.
The sets are clever too – sliding walls and panels, along with inventive lighting, are used to great effect to create rooms, bars and recording booths. The cherry on the cake? The auditorium – air conditioned or not – remains a comfortable temperature throughout. Thank goodness for that.
The Bodyguard plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal until Sat 3rd August 2019. Tickets are priced from £22.50 and can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 08448 11 21 21 (calls cost 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charge).
Please note: Alexandra Burke is scheduled to perform the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ at all evening performances only.