Latest Review – The Bodyguard [Palace Theatre, Manchester] [UK Tour]

Image © Paul Coltas


Palace Theatre, Manchester

Until Saturday 4th January 2020

Having the played the role to universal acclaim on the first national tour of the show, platinum-selling music superstar Alexandra Burke now makes her anticipated return to Thea Sharrock’s thrilling production of the hit musical, The Bodyguard, now in Manchester for an extended Christmas season.

Adapted from the 1992 film of the same name starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, the show follows the eponymous former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect pop superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker proving an increasing threat to both her and her family.

Reprising a role she has now made firmly her own, Burke gives a sensational perfomance in the central role, tackling the huge numbers with extraordinary flair (and apparent ease), and reaffirming her status as a major force in contemporary pop, soul and R&B.

Thea Sharrock’s production expertly reinvents the hit film for the stage, eliminating any hint of the ‘Jukebox Musical’ many people will undoubtedly be expecting with a slick and visually arresting production. Writer Alexander Dinelaris transforms what is ultimately a rather thin plot into something significantly more rounded, notably updating the story to the present day in the process with some clever shifts and twists.

Ben Lewis proves a solid and charismatic Frank, hinting at the emotional character lying beneath the steely surface and effectively highlighting some of more comedic elements of the script.

Emmy Willow also deserves special mention as Rachel’s overshadowed sister, Nikki – a role she has previously played on the international tour and covered in the West End – showcasing the full range of her powerful soul voice in the likes of Saving All My Love and I Have Nothing, the latter a haunting duet with her sister.

Karen Bruce’s expert choreography is punchy and dynamic, and a solid dance ensemble tackle the challenging numbers with great proficiency.

Under the baton of Musical Director Michael Riley, the 8-strong orchestra are superb and breath new life into the hit-packed score.

Now in Manchester until the New Year, The Bodyguard is an exhilarating and hugely uplifting show not to be missed, and the perfect tonic for the dreary winter blues.

Running Time: 2 hours and 25-minutes (approx.), including one 20-minute interval.

Final Performance at the Palace Theatre, Manchester: Saturday 4th January 2020.

For more information, and to book tickets, please Click Here.

N.B. Alexandra Burke will perform the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ at evening performances only. She will not perform at any matinees, or on Thu 26 Dec and Wed 1 Jan 2020. At other performances, the role will be played by Jennlee Shallow. The producers of The Bodyguard cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, which is always subject to illness and holidays.

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