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The Bodyguard at Alexandra Theatre - Review

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by Alison Brinkworth (subscribe)
Freelance journalist in Birmingham with a passion for the dynamic theatre, art, food and fashion scene in Britain's 'Second City'.
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Is Alexandra Burke queen of the night?
A gunshot rings out to grab everyone's attention at the start of this romantic thriller based on the famous film of the same name. This is a refreshed version of the musical - so if you think you've seen it all before, think again.

The Bodyguard musical, Alexandra Burke, Alexandra Theatre, birmingham, tour
Alexandra Burke shines in The Bodyguard musical


Alexandra Burke returns as headliner in the UK tour of The Bodyguard The Musical, which is at Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham until February 1.

Since playing the role of Rachel Marron back in 2016, the former X Factor winner has gone on to star in more big stage musicals like Chicago, Sister Act and Chess and even reached the final of Strictly Come Dancing with Gorka Marquez.

She uses her experience in all of these to have even more charisma and presence on stage this time around, plus uses some of those Strictly skills in newer dance routines.

Following a similar storyline as the popular film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, it also weaves in other Houston hits to make it a celebration of the singer too.

It feels different though - much fresher - thanks to bigger special effects, refreshed scenes and a change to the plot in terms of Rachel's stalker.

The Bodyguard musical, Alexandra Burke, Alexandra Theatre, birmingham, tour
The scene of Frank carrying Rachel to safety is visually memorable


The plot follows hunky bodyguard Frank Farmer ( a charming, well-cast Ben Lewis who was recently in award-winning production Company) as he is hired to protect pop superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.

It's hit after hit with a back catalogue of Whitney's finest songs including Queen of the Night, So Emotional and a big finale of I Will Always Love You.

Shining out of the shadows is hugely talented actress Emmy Willow as Rachel's jealous sister Nicki, who has a remarkable voice. In fact, she's often a touch better than Alexandra vocally, impressing for difficult songs like Saving All My Love For You.

It means a duet between Alexandra and Emmy for song Run To You makes a remarkable wall of sound and is a real highlight.

The Bodyguard musical, Alexandra Burke, Alexandra Theatre, birmingham, tour
Alexandra Burke with Emmy Willow


One Moment in Time is saved for a big performance by Rachel at the Oscars, but then again every song is a big performance.

It's the kind of slick, big budget, high production musical that can't help but dazzle throughout. It just gets better and better with each lavish set and the effects are particularly good when Frank carries Rachel to safety from a pop concert and his shadow is projected into a wall of hazy smoke.

There seems to be much more use of video and projections like this, which do have an impact. The dramatic shooting flames of an early scene did backfire however as they continued to burn, stopping the show briefly so they could be put out with a fire extinguisher.

The Bodyguard musical, Alexandra Burke, Alexandra Theatre, birmingham, tour
Alexandra Burke is queen of the night

This feel-good show returns with a new zest and seems to have more of everything. The Bodyguard musical has more moments in time than you could have hoped for and you won't want to miss it.

Rating:

Alexandra Burke will not perform in matinee performances when the role of Rachel will be played by Jennlee Shallow.


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Why? See refreshed version of romantic musical The Bodyguard
When: Until February 1, 2020
Phone: 020 7206 1179
Where: Alexandra Theatre, Suffolk Queensway, Birmingham, B5 4DS
Cost: From 13
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