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  • Writer's pictureFrances

The Bodyguard Musical Review | The Palace Theatre | Manchester

Audiences can’t walk away from the ballad belting music that surrounds The Bodyguard, holding the 1992 romance thriller as the bestselling movie album of all time. It is the vehicle that catapulted Whitney Houston to screen stardom as the enigmatic Rachel Marron and possesses three Grammy’s including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for I Will Always Love You.

Fortunately, the stage musical holds onto the charm of its film, with a smooth transfer that brings a wired production to Manchester’s Palace Theatre. Gloriously sensationalising the films anthems, alongside its luxurious costumes and shimmering set pieces, the story follows Rachel, a passionate superstar and mother, who after receiving death threats hires professional Secret Service agent Frank Farmer to protect her.

Although the musical does hold its suspenseful moments, this thriller is flooded with high kicks, hair flips and adrenalin-filled choreography. Its pop classics are undoubtedly its hypnotic draw as The Bodyguard is back at the Palace Theatre for a second run, alongside Alexandra Burke reprising the role of Rachel. The chart-topping, Hallelujah singer appears to be a perfect fit for this gorgeously repackaged stage show, and Burke’s fierce performances of Queen of the Night, Greatest Love of All and Run to You are truly mesmerising.

The spectacular stage show shoots flames, projections and smoke effects at its audience, bringing a cinematic experience to the stage. Incorporating sliding set pieces that reveal Rachel’s layered world, The Bodyguard musical adds more feathers and sparkles to its heavenly love ballads, boosting the films finest characteristics to deliver audiences a stunning stage spectacle. The production has been beautifully tailored to the stage, with Burke playing the larger than life Rachel against her curmudgeonly guardian, Frank (Ben Lewis). As the scenes flip from salsa shaking dance sequences to conjuring karaoke jokes, it is easy to get sucked into the story.

This star-studded show ensures that audiences will be entertained by its frenetic production, directed by Thea Sharrock. Juggling an escalating stalker storyline and exuberant dance sequences between Burke’s and Lewis’s softer moments, the musical calves out its own space with a fantastic ensemble cast elevating this glossy production. Emmy Willow (Nicki), when given her moment to shine, is phenomenal, performing the tear-jerking, Saving All My Love for Frank’s affections. The young Caleb Williams playing Rachel’s son Fletcher also keeps pace, breakdancing alongside the twelve backing dancers.

Burke’s faultless musical performances ensures that The Bodyguard’s raw and vulnerable lyrics will continue to resonate with its audience, and the classic love ballads are lifted by the live orchestra backing its award-winning soundtrack. The Bodyguard the Musical is undoubtedly one of the best film to stage transfers, built to last more than a moment in time.

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