THE BODYGUARD: Based on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan, Book by Alexander Dinelaris
Runs: 2h 35m, one interval.
Birmingham Hippodrome till Saturday 5 September
Review: Alexander Ray Edser 07 08 15
An exceptional thrill
No two ways about it; this is a splendid show. Beautifully structured, the story has the magic mix of powerful song followed by powerful song, a strong emotional pull, and story elements planned to keep tension growing to its explosive climax.
THE BODYGUARD is the story of mega pop-star, Rachel Marron. Her life is threatened by a stalker and Frank Farmer is employed as her bodyguard. But they fall powerfully in love, and though he would die for her, he cannot effectively carry out his job while emotionally entangled. That the course of true love never runs smoothly couldn’t be more true, and of such trials and tribulations are great stories made.
All this would come for nothing if Rachel Marron is not up to scratch. Alexandra Burke is more than that, she excels in the role, she shines in it. She has a wide singing range and underpins every song with thrilling emotion. One time winner of X Factor, she is also more than a fabulous singer, she has the all-important knack of acting through her songs. The musical strength of this show really does rest on her shoulders and she carries it with great style. Marvellous to watch.
Stuart Reid is a perfect complement as Frank Farmer. His is a restrained performance, but he exudes confidence and charm in equal measures. No doubt about it, you’d certainly feel safe in his hands.
A very strong team fill out the rest of the company. Each sharply characterising their roles and with sharp, tough dancing to boot. Excellent, edgy choreography from Karen Bruce. Thea Sharrrock as director never allows the tension to drop. And Tim Hatley’s sets have a level of performance about them that adds oodles of thrill to the entire event, without ever taking the focus from the performers.
And it all finishes with a sing along, which has a delight all of its own.
Terrific, absolutely terrific.
Frank Farmer: Stuart Reid
Rachel Marron: Alexandra Burke
Bill Devaney: Mensh Bediako
Tony Schibelli: Sion Lloyd
The Stalker: Mike Denman
Fletcher: Elliot Aubryey, Jhayeim Davis
Mark Jones, Xhanti Mbonzo, Chiesa Musonda
Sy Spector: Adam Venus
Nicki Marron: Melissa James
Douglas // Jimmy / Ski;: Edward Claarke
Ray Court: Glen Fox
Ensemble: Jade Albertsen, Omari Bernard, Edwrd Clarke, Jamai Crawford, Lydia Fraser, Jamie-Ray Hartshorne, Annie Kitchen, Sophie Usher, Matthew Wesley, Emmy Willow
Swing: Lisa Darnell, Kieran Donovan, Lucia Gonzalez, Oliver Roll, Mark Willshire
Director: Thea Sharrock
Set and Costume Designer: Tim Hatley
Choreographer: Karen Bruce
Musical Director: Tom Gearing
Video Designer: Duncan McLean
Sound Designer: Richard Brooker
Casing Director: Beth Eden