Much like Kinky Boots, I’d seen The Bodyguard before in the West End before. However, it may just make the list of my top 10 favourite musicals ever. So after receiving an invite to the press night at The Bristol Hippodrome*, saying yes was a no-brainer.
The Bodyguard centres around Rachel Marron, a big superstar (Who I guess is supposed to be Whitney Houston). After one too many close encounters with a (super creepy) stalker, she’s forced to hire a bodyguard. Cue romance, family, sadness and a soundtrack of epic Whitney Houston hits.
I’m a sucker for a jukebox musical. I think that they’re pretty creative and I love how they make them fit. So a jukebox musical? With Whitney Houston tracks? Ideal.
As I said, I’ve seen it before and loved it. However, that was two years ago, with Beverly Knight (who I absolutely adore) as Rachel. Though I do like Alexandra Burke (Fun fact – someone in my secondary school started a rumour she was my sister, a lot of people believed it), I knew her from the X-Factor and wasn’t too sure of her West End abilities. Turns out, I had nothing to worry about.
The show was dynamic, intense and gripping. The dancing was perfect, the acting was believable, and while the American accents were a bit off at times, I didn’t care due to the high quality of the production.
In my Annie review, I raved about how strong the ensemble was, and this was no different. They gelled well, their dancing was in sync and I honestly couldn’t fault them. They were the kind of ensemble that makes you want to get up and dance with them – I was all for it. As for the standouts:
Nicki is my favourite character in The Bodyguard. She was the one that made me fall in love with the song ‘Saving All My Love for You’, which is still one of my favourite songs to this day. And, I won’t lie, I was rooting for her during the whole musical. Therefore, I had such high hopes for whoever played her in the touring production. Richardson did a fantastic job – she hit every note, she was incredibly indeering whilst also being so strong, and I believed every feeling she put out there. 10/10.
I don’t recall the stalker being so attractive last time I saw the Bodyguard… But Atkinson sure was. His first (shirtless) entrance on stage was supposed to be creepy and unsettling, but it was met with an audible “Ooo” at his abs by most of the audience. Problematic? Probably. However, jokes aside, he did a great job as the stalker, and he had me on edge when he was on stage.
Much like Annie, I was in awe of Burnett. How do these children have more talent than I will ever have?! His dancing was so precise and the attitude was perfect, his line delivery was adorably enthusiastic… Every choice he made, made you really want to root for Fletcher. I hope he goes far.
I always appreciate the stage effects of a show, but in the Bodyguard you can’t help but notice them. From the start, fire is being blasted from the stage, lights are swirling around the audience and the stage replicates a concert so well that you believe you are the audience.
What I also love about the Bodyguard stage effects is their use of video. The projections of videos featuring the stalker in his room not only add to the weirdly intrusive vibe that he brings, but also bared strong resemblance to the ‘Stan’ music video by Eminem (And we all know how that ends). The use of this media never feels out of place: it’s used to enhance the story, or add to a scene (Such as the karaoke bar scene). During Alexandra Burke’s final number, it not only allows her to change costume, but uses a video montage to strengthen the love story and get the audience feeling all the feels.
I have already mentioned that it’s Whitney jukebox musical, so obviously the songs are amazing. However, I really love what they’ve done with them. Some of my favourites include:
This was an absolute showstopper. Alexandra Burke excelled with the vocals, the choreography was absolutely brilliant, the costumes dazzled and it made every person in there want to get up and dance. It was so enjoyable and I was incredibly into it. Honestly, I admire everyone involved in this number.
I get that this number is supposed to be a jokey one, but it’s still one of my favourites! The three girls doing karaoke are so relateable, adding the perfect hilarious transition between scenes, making everyone in the audience want to drunkenly sing along with them. I appreciated the effort, I appreciated the storytelling and I loved that I have definitely seen each one of those drunk girls on various nights out at University.
Alexandra Burke is a vocal powerhouse, and this song was the perfect example of her talent. It was beautifully done, it had an amazing light show and costume chance video montage and was the ideal way to close the show. I had genuine goosebumps. This number really does steal the show.
While ‘I Will Always Love You’ is technically the final number of the show, I Wanna Dance With Somebody is used as an ideal encore. It’s amazing: the audience is up off their seats, clapping and dancing along, while the entire cast (post-bows) dance and sing a lot more freely on stage. There’s still some choreography, with the dancers showing off their immense talent and capabilities even more than before, but it feels a lot more relaxed. It’s the perfect number to make the audience leave smiling. I most certainly did.
5 stars. Was and continues to be one of my favourite musicals. Hardly anyone ever talks about it so please go and see the tour if you can! Tickets and information can be found here.
Hey, I'm Jasmine Burke. A girl in her twenties fresh out of Uni that's trying to write in any way that she can. I go under the branch of "lifestyle" but honestly, you can find pretty much anything on here.
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