Alexandra Burke just blew us away starring as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard - The Musical at Milton Keynes Theatre. There, we said it. We really can’t put it any more plainly than that. From the very first musical number, she really was the ‘Queen of the Night’.
We actually worked out in the interval that Ms Burke was just four years old when the original movie starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner came out, she wouldn’t of fully understood then about all the hype that surrounded the film. The soundtrack topping the charts, the single ‘I Will Always Love You’ spending 10 weeks as UK number one and selling 20 million copies worldwide – the movie itself was the second highest grossing movie of 1992 taking over $410 million at the box office.
But even though she was so young when that all happened, what you cannot deny is that she fills Whitney’s boots absolutely perfectly in this stage musical version. There’s a lot to live up to when ‘that’ song and ‘that’ voice is so well-known.
The production is very slick – the simple sets move seamlessly in and out to take you through the storyline. The live band is needed to convey the power of the songs and to, let’s face it, keep up with the ‘that’ voice.
The rest of the cast deserve a lot of praise, yes Ms Burke is the star and rightly so, but they all more than hold their own. Frank Farmer played by Benoit Marechal, is brooding like Costner was and even his faint European accent didn’t detract from a strong performance. Particular praise should go to Micha Richardson, who plays Rachel’s tortured sister, Nicki Marron. Her voice was again first class. And the acting across the board was really powerful.
The production sticks to the movie storyline pretty well but zips along at a good pace with a mix of emotional acting, powerful ballads and strong dance routines. And then we get to ‘that song’…does Ms Burke hit ‘THAT’ note – well, we won’t spoilt it for you, but safe to say we came out beaming from ear to ear, wanting to go straight home and watch the movie – for the 23rd time!
The Bodyguard – The Musical plays at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday 23rd March.