Despite some questionable American accents, The Bodyguard: The Musical, at the Liverpool Empire Theatre, was a joy to watch. Filled with a mixture of comedy – although maybe not always intentional – and big Hollywood-style performances, it would be difficult not to enjoy the show. Some scenes take a slightly darker turn, but overall it provides a light-hearted viewing, with an opportunity to sing-along in the encore.
The general premise of the show centres around world-wide superstar singer, Rachel Marron (played by Alexandra Burke), who is threatened by an infatuated fan. This results in the reluctant hiring of Frank Farmer (Benoît Maréchal) as her bodyguard. The storyline follows Rachel Marron’s relationship with her family and Frank Farmer, whilst the stalking evolves. Throughout the production, the cast perform many of Whitney Houston’s biggest hits including: ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘I have Nothing’ and ‘I Wanna Dance with Somebody’.
As the lead, Alexandra Burke displayed her talents in all their glory. She performed a particularly beautiful rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’, as well as a stunning duet with Micha Richardson who plays Rachel’s sister, Nicki Marron. To have a supporting actress with talent to rival the lead was a pleasant surprise.
Although the entire cast performed to such a high standard, the unexpected star of the show was the character of Fletcher, Rachel Marron’s son played by Jess Oniha. The Bodyguard is Jesse’s professional debut, not that you would be able to tell. He is one of six boys cast as Fletcher but displays promising young talent and is one to watch in the coming years.
Clever use of lighting and sets allowed the stage to transform in every scene, from a mansion, to the Oscar’s stage, to a karaoke bar – where a particularly funny scene takes place. The sets and lighting only strengthened the impressive dance numbers produced by the talented cast, where it’s clear to see that Burke’s time on Strictly Come Dancing hasn’t gone to waste.
The Bodyguard is on at the Empire Theatre until 9th March. The show’s popularity is evident in that a large proportion of the evening tickets have already sold out, so if you’re looking for a fun night out at the theatre then you should purchase your tickets as soon as possible! (Please note Alexandra Burke will perform the role of ‘Rachel Marron’ at evening performances only except Tuesday 5th March).
Photographs by Paul Coltas