Review: The Bodyguard (touring) Royal Concert Hall Nottingham

Fans of The Bodyguard 1992 film will be thrilled by the stage adaptation currently at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham and on tour. Alexandra Burke, in the lead role which Whitney Houston famously performed in the film, excels in creating the same vocal impact and intensity as Houston, without direct imitation. It’s a spectacular, concert style production, big, glossy and explosive, and has the appreciative audience on their feet and dancing enthusiastically by the end.

The show is ideally suited to the open stage and dynamic acoustics of the Royal Concert Hall, presenting itself from the off as a live concert, pumped up, with booming sound, provocative dancers, slick dance routines and glamorous costumes.

The story, something of a romantic thriller, features Rachel Marron, as an international singer with an overly obsessive fan who becomes a threatening stalker. Frank Farmer is employed as her bodyguard, and after initial friction, the two become close. Telling this more intimate story on such a large stage is challenging but Benoit Marechal as Frank Farmer has a very charismatic presence and is both natural and convincing in his portrayal of the focussed professional. Micha Richardson, playing Rachel’s sister Nicki, adds further depth to the story, and is an outstanding singer in her own right. Burke and Richardson duet together in Run to You and it is one of the highlights of the show, each of them reaching for the rafters with their melodic acrobatics.

Alexandra Burke reprises her role as Rachel Marron from the previous UK tour. Her vocals appear effortless, and she uses that signature melismatic technique to echo the unique Whitney sound, whilst performing the songs in her own, heartfelt style. Some of the biggest hits featured include the upbeat I’m Every Woman, Greatest Love of All, I’m Every Woman and I Wanna Dance with Somebody. Everything from floor filling dance anthems to power ballads, and all hits in between.

The polished set design by Tim Hatley, with spectacular lighting by Mark Henderson, work well to create intimate spaces out of what is otherwise a huge stage space, and clever use is made of the whole Concert Hall in bringing the story to life – no spoilers.

Whilst the storyline is fairly one-dimensional, the show is a platform for us to revisit and enjoy the huge success of Whitney Houston and her individual performing style and as such, succeeds spectacularly. It is, after all, One Moment in Time, and one which Whitney fans will not soon forget.

The Bodyguard runs at Royal Concert Hall Nottingham until 22nd June

Originally written for Nottingham Post.

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