With an ‘ok’ trailer, TNT didn’t have any great expectations for the stage adaptation of The Bodyguard at Manchester’s Palace Theatre. Alexandra Burke on the other hand, now that was different.
Burke, is best known for winning X Factor with Hallelujah. Could she live up to the legend that is Whitney Houston? Could she pull off an American accent? Would her voice do justice to the iconic legend? Would there be the same sexual chemistry that Houston and Costner had in the film?
The musical, based on the 1992 romantic thriller, starring the late Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. Costner plays former Secret Service agent Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect pop icon and single mother Rachel Marron (Whitney), from an unknown stalker trying to kill her. There is a twist in the tale however, with tantalising chemistry and surprising truths.
Both sassy, sexy and intriguing the opening scene dazzled the audience, with Burke’s rendition of ‘Queen of the night’.
Abridged from film to stage, the production differs from the film for obvious reasons – time being one of them – and you are left without a sense of Rachel and Frank’s love connection. You are forced to reminisce about the love connection in the film, between Costner and Houston, as there is zero chemistry between Rachel and Frank on this stage production. Once you travelled back to the film, only then could you project the love connection onto the stage as Rachel pursued Costner – eventually leading to them kissing and making love.
Belting out hit songs – I’m Every Woman, I Will Always Love You, Run to you, I Have Nothing, Greatest love of all, I Wanna Dance With Somebody – Burke left no questions asked of her, vocally as she is both beautiful and amazing in this role.
Creating the right mood throughout, the flawless lighting draws you into the sinister stalker’s mindset – from dark moody lighting to the colourful ending.
From afar, the sparkly costumes seemed fitting for the production, but on close scrutiny, they seemed poorly-tailoried for Burke physic. The closing black floor-length gown will leave you breathless. The designer of the yellow ‘Big Bird short number’ perhaps needs to rethink her design on that particular number – it was hideous and far too short and didn’t flatter Burke at all.
Spotted in the audience were stars, sports personalities and the cast of Coronation street. TNT had a chat with Dean Gorré the former professional football player and husband of the fiery, real housewives of Cheshire Magale Gorre. “Loving the performance so far, it’s amazing”, he remarked.
Both Burke and Melissa James (Whitney’s sister Nicki) preformed some impressive ballads.
Stuart Reid (Frank), although funny at times, could have been more convincing in this role as there was little to no chemistry between him and Rachel. What’s curious is that when the cast took their bows, Alexandra darts towards Reid for a congratulation kiss – we assure you, there was more chemistry between the pair in that kiss than the entire play.
Burke doesn’t try to be Whitney; rather she injects her own version to the legend’s classics, which makes this a great tribute. Simply put, she has an effortless way of bringing tears to your eyes.
Singing along and dancing in the aisles, the audience at the Palace Theatre was the lively theatre has ever seen.
Yes, this is a ‘must see’ theatre production, however it’s not to be compared to the film, as theatre cannot ever be. Burke’s faux American accent is just that – fake, but she is still both stunning and talented to flourish on, year on year and she is the only British singer that could have done this production justice.
The Bodyguard is on until 9 January 2016.