The Bodyguard at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre - Review

The Bodyguard at Birmingham Alexandra Theatre - Review


Posted 2023-12-05 by Alison in Birmingham follow

Mon 04 Dec 2023 - Sat 30 Dec 2023

With a Whitney Houston catalogue of hits, The Bodyguard musical is still going strong and back in Birmingham for Christmas. It's this year's festive show at The Alexandra Theatre but can this stage version live up to the iconic movie?

Made as a vehicle to promote Houston when she was at the top of her game in 1992, her sizzling on-screen chemistry with Kevin Costner in the movie has proved timeless. This show also follows superstar singer Rachel Marron as she's targeted by an unknown stalker with former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, called in to protect her.

The romantic thriller, on at Birmingham's Alexandra Theatre until Saturday December 30, has a TV name playing Costner's role in the shape of Ayden Callaghan, pictured above. He's well known among soap fans as Miles De Souza in Emmerdale and Joe Roscoe in Hollyoaks and is well cast as the unflinching hero with charisma.

Singer Emily Williams shown below, who came second in Australian Idol TV contest, headlines as Rachel and is well versed in it after starring in the show down under. She's definitely got the voice and the pair's chemistry works well on stage.

I was interested to see who was playing Rachel's sister, Nicki Marron. Last time I saw The Bodyguard when it was here at the Alexandra in 2020 with Alexandra Burke , Emmy Willow played the jealous sibling and stole the show, singing some of the more difficult tracks with ease.

This time, Emily-Mae, pictured below with Callaghan, plays that part. She's definitely got a powerful voice and her impressive CV includes starring in Disney’s Frozen on stage. She had everyone mesmerised while performing Saving All My Love For You and is on par vocally with Williams.

Her duet with Williams for Run To You shows how these ladies are on equal footing and is musically, one of the most impressive of the show. Probably only eclipsed by the power ballad I Will Always Love You.

The songs are part of what keeps fans coming back for more as it's a chance to relive some of the Whitney greats. Really, this is the closest they can get to a Whitney Houston musical. There's not only songs that featured in the film but extras added in, which is its secret weapon.

There's the expected ones from the movie soundtrack of Queen of the Night, Run To You, I Have Nothing, Jesus Loves Me and, of course, I Will Always Love You. But the bonus is plenty of chart hits like So Emotional, Where Do Broken Hearts Go, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Greatest Love Of All and even Million Dollar Bill.

Not forgetting, the sublime early pop hit of I Wanna Dance With Somebody for a feel-good ending.

It's a slick show with big sets, sparkling dance sequences and glamorous costumes that run alongside a pretty decent crime story. There's something for everyone from romance to action and even murder. The dramatic effects start from the get-go when a shot rings out to grab everyone's attention in the opening scene.

The main romantic scene in a karaoke bar seems refreshingly funnier this time around but that could be down to how Williams and Callaghan are playing it.

Worthy of a mention is also Rachel's son Fletcher who adds more humour and sentiment to the storyline and makes Rachel a bit more likable. It's a role shared by youngsters Ryo Appadu, Kaylen Luke, Manasseh Mapira and Sam Stephens during its stint in Birmingham.

For those who love Whitney Houston's music, The Bodyguard is a glitzy, well-crafted show that is much more impressive than a jukebox musical. It's similar but very different from the film and has taken on a life of its own. It's still ultimately all about the music and it doesn't disappoint.

RATING: 4 out of 5 stars

Tickets for The Bodyguard at Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham start from £13. For more information, visit The Alexandra website here .

272101 - 2023-12-04 13:19:40


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