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The Bodyguard - Milton Keynes Theatre

Published by: Louise Winter on 13th Apr 2016 | View all blogs by Louise Winter

Reviewed by Louise Winter 13th April 2016

Bodyguard Paul Colta

image copyright Paul Coltas

This national tour of the very successful London show has limited ticket availability for the remainder of its run at Milton Keynes. This is no doubt due to X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke in the lead role for the evening performances. She, along with Whitney Houston’s mega-hits, the nostalgia of the massively successful 1992 film starring Houston and Kevin Costner, and sharp direction and production create a sure thing here.

Starting X-Factor style and continuing with plenty of spectacle, pyrotechnics, very clever staging and fine performances all round, this show creates elements of a concert well balanced with moments of quiet storytelling. Such is the standard of polish, style and tip-top execution that this is definitely a show worth grabbing a ticket for.

The thin storyline of the film remains untroubled here; famous singer’s management team hire ex-secret service agent to protect said singer from obsessed stalker (played with effective menace by Matthew Stathers). Immediate mutual suspicion and dislike of singer for bodyguard and vice versa soon give way to passion and drama. 

The film is most certainly of its time featuring Houston and Costner at the peak of their careers and is looked upon with great fondness by many of us who were impressionable young women in the early nineties; those same women appeared with their daughters (and some male partners) to make up the majority of the audience at MK Theatre tonight and made their appreciation vocally apparent throughout the evening.

Rachel and Frank bodyguard Paul Coltas

image copyright Paul Coltas

Alexandra Burke is so well suited to the role of diva Rachel with a powerful voice and singing performance that is spot on. Her acting is believable and her on stage chemistry with Stuart Reid as bodyguard Frank Farmer is palpable. They have some very funny moments – look out for the Karaoke bar scene. Reid plays it cool and is smoulderingly sexy as the alpha male protector. Burke’s spoken sections have a tendency to be a little quiet at times. Being on stage throughout almost the whole show and performing most of the sixteen numbers, including the iconic ‘I Will Always Love You’ which is BRILLIANT, requires unlimited energy and Burke paces herself carefully. It is unfair to compare anyone to Houston and there is no sign that Burke is doing an impression; the more subtle interpretation of the numbers by her as a result of the musical direction and vocal arrangements by Mike Dixon are preferable in some instances; not to worry, the really big numbers are BIG!

Rachel John as sister Nicky is outstanding with a beautifully clear voice. Burke and John’s shared performances are stunning, their different tenors and ranges complement each other fittingly.

Rachel and Nicky - Bodyguard Paul Coltas

image copyright Paul Coltas

Staging is inventive with sliding frames, projections, screens and highly effective lighting to create depth of space and changes in mood and atmosphere.

A dazzling, sensational production and well worth a visit.

The Bodyguard is at MK Theatre until Saturday 23rd April

0844 872 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes (bkg fee applies) 

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