Review: The Bodyguard at Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

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Visually impressive and vocally astounding the award winning show The Bodyguard – the musical hits Nottingham’s Royal Concert Hall stage with a bang and never lets go even in its quieter moments. A unanimous standing ovation from this full to capacity Nottingham Concert Hall (Royal Centre) audience says it all!!!

Alexandra Burke as Rachel Marron makes her ballads and songs seem totally effortless winning the audience’s huge admiration from the powerful opening number ‘Queen of the Night’ to the utterly stunning final rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ and many in-between.

The show boasts sixteen heart stopping and heart wrenching musical numbers such as ‘All At Once’, ‘I’m Every Woman’, ‘One Moment In Time’, ‘Run To You’, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and ‘Greatest Love Of All’. The live orchestra is note sharp under the confident command of Musical Director Tom Gearing. Orchestration and additional music is by Chris Egan.

Director Thea Sharrock keeps the gripping story of the bodyguard Frank Farmer (Stuart Reid) and his new assignment protecting  singing superstar Rachel Marron (Burke) from a dangerous stalker (Mike Denman) very tight and exciting. The impressive sets, (Tim Hatley – Set and Costume Design) adjusted to deal with a nationwide tour, take us to each new location with impressive ease. The lighting (Mark Henderson)  multimedia (Duncan McLean) and clear as a bell sound (Richard Brooker) do the rest to make for a truly magical show.

The stage musical version differs slightly from the film bringing in an extra love interest other than that of the originally reluctant affair between Rachel Marron and Frank Farmer. Here we have a sister character to Rachel Marron in Nikki Marron played in this production by Melissa James. James has a sweetness, natural beauty and spine-tingling voice not so far removed from that of Whitney Houston in her young prime. Both she and Burke are outstanding and a very believable pair of sisters. As Rachel Marron’s young son Fletcher, Daniel Deszek-Green steals the audience’ hearts and impresses with his dancing during the rehearsal scene.

The afore-mentioned Stuart Reid as Frank Farmer is spot on as the bodyguard. Tough without being macho, very believable in the tender moments and refreshingly funny in his attempts to sing a karaoke song in a cheap nightclub joint.

The expression ‘he is a man of very little words’ comes to mind when watching Mike Denman as ‘the stalker’. Denman hardly has any dialogue and certainly no always wanted to play a stalker songs yet he puts his utterly devious and cleverly dangerous character across perfectly and gains many a shudder from the audience and amusingly deep boos in his curtain call.

Overall this is a stunner of a show with a hard working and convincing ensemble, superb visually and outstandingly good vocally and choreographically. If you can possibly get a ticket (it is a packed first night) do so. You won’t regret One Moment In Time of a trip to see The Bodyguard – the musical.

Runs until 27th October at this venue.

Theatre Royal and Royal Concert Hall Nottingham.

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