Having not seen the film, I headed to the Edinburgh Playhouse on Wednesday evening not sure what to expect from The Bodyguard: The Musical. The premise of the show is a star singer, Rachel Marron, who is threatened by a fan who is infatuated by her. Enter Frank Farmer, a bodyguard with a past hired to protect her. Not the kind of thing to be taken lightly. However, there are comedic and touching moments in a show that turned out to be hugely enjoyable.
Produced by Michael Harrison and David Ian, The Bodyguard is based on the 1992 Oscar nominated film which starred Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.
Former X Factor winner Alexandra Burke plays the part of Rachel in the evening performances (Jennlee Shallow plays this part in the matinee shows). Burke certainly has a singing voice and has done well to cultivate an American accent. Her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ was particularly impressive and an array of instantly recognisable songs such as Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, and I Wanna Dance with Somebody ensure the show hits the heights.
Benoît Maréchal plays the bodyguard Frank Farmer and he and Burke seem the perfect pairing. The story of the show is the relationship between the pair. Each expects to be in charge but what they don’t expect is to fall in love. The show concentrates in Marron’s relationship with Farmer but also touches on Marron’s family’s reaction to their flowering relationship. Catching some considerable attention are Micha Richardson as Rachel’s sister Nicki Marron – who, herself, falls in love with Farmer – and Archie Smith who is one of six youngsters playing the part of Marron’s young son Fletcher.
The ingenious use of sets allows the stage to transform in every scene although the use of lights in the more upbeat numbers does tend to dazzle rather too brightly. However, the sets and impressive dance numbers ensures The Bodyguard is a spectacular show. It will make you laugh; it will make you cry but, at the end of the night, you feel thoroughly entertained.
Edinburgh Reporter rating: ****
The Bodyguard: The Musical is on at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 20th July 2019. Tickets here