The Bodyguard performed at The Royal Concert Hall Nottingham on Wednesday 14th October 2015.

Review by Sandra Cooper

The Bodyguard started in the most dramatic fashion ever, with a bang that shook the audience into silence as we saw the menacing stalker shot to death by the former Secret Service Agent, Frank Farmer.

And from that moment on, the show was pure entertainment. A giant screen back stage showed glamourous close ups of the Oscar winning diva, Rachel Marron, with facts and figures of her global success; 25 million albums sold, 12 number one hits and 6 Grammys, which all served to build up the excitement and tension around the Royal Concert Hall.

As the sliding partition slowly revealed the raunchy opening number, Queen Of The Night, we were transported to a genuine rock gig, with its glittering costumes, flashing lights, soaring flames, a dance ensemble and a brilliant eight piece orchestra.

From then on the story gently unfolded. The Bodyguard is based upon the 1992 iconic movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner and tells the tale of Frank Farmer, hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. Each expects to be in charge, but what they don’t expect is to fall in love. With that film being the second highest grossing film of that year and the sound track selling 45 million copies worldwide, the Director of this stage adaptation, Thea Sharrock, had no easy task. But with this show, she has undoubtedly pulled it off.

With Alexander Burke, winner of the 2008 X Factor, playing the powerful Rachel, this show could only be a massive hit. She turned in a glamorous and gorgeous performance and of course her excellent voice carried the powerful songs with ease. Because it is the songs that really tell the story of The Bodyguard; from the great anthem I Will Always Love You to the final version of I Wanna Dance With Somebody, they were presented here with a level of sheer glitz that fairly takes your breath away. But it was not just the power ballads that had our attention; her version of One Moment In Time, accompanied by a gun toting stalker, was extraordinarily tense and had us on the edge of our seats.

But the stage did not just belong to Burke. There were shades of Costner in Stuart Reid as Frank Farmer as he takes on the very serious role. So it was an absolute delight to see his less serious side with his dreadful singing in the karaoke bar which was completely credible and comical.

Rising star of the show was undoubtedly Melissa James as Nicki Marron, sister to Rachel. She is the poor relation who is as talented as her sister but who never gets the limelight and sings in a downtown bar. She also hankers for Farmer too; a love interest which sadly never comes to fruition. James’ voice was crystal clear, and her rendition of Saving All My Love was so beautiful and moving, it very nearly stole the show.

The show never stays still for a minute. The action moves from karaoke bar to Rachel’s lavish mansion, from bedrooms to an Academy Award Ceremony, all done with a sequence of intricate sliding scenery and the excellent use of projected images.

But the stage tonight without doubt belonged to Alexander Burke. As she rose up on a pedestal from the front of the stage, to sing I Will Always Love You, the audience were on their feet and cheering well before she had even got to that note, which she held with outstanding ease. This capacity Royal Concert Hall audience had clearly been dazzled by this classy performance and gave this very talented Company a well-earned standing ovation all the way from the Stalls to the back of Tier 2.