REVIEW: The Bodyguard at The Alexandra

We reviewed the current production of 'The Bodyguard' earlier in its run. This review is an updated version of a previously published one.

Some musicals could conceivably be classed as 'demanding' - there's no doubt that many productions take it out of the actors on stage. However, The Bodyguard, is the perfect storm of an emotional plot and an outstanding soundtrack.

The internationally award-winning musical is based on the film of the same name, released in 1992. It tells the story of former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker. With big personalities, each of them expects to be in charge - but what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

The story is beautifully interwoven with a soundtrack that comes with a pedigree that so many other jukebox musicals don't. When you start with a catalogue of Whitney Houston classics, including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and one of the greatest songs of all time - I Will Always Love You - you're almost guaranteed a hit show.

But, from The ensemble to the leads, it’s the cast on stage tonight took that to another level.

Australia’s Emily Williams takes the lead role on this tour, alternating with Samantha Mbolekwa. Williams has only recently taken over the part, but her charisma and chemistry with her peers shines through. It’s as though she’s been Queen of the Night for decades.

One thing that's definitely worth noting is that Williams isn't playing Whitney. Such is the link between Houston, The Bodyguard and a soundtrack of her own hits, it's a point that can often be overlooked.

Williams gave a brilliant performance this evening. her acting was much stronger than some other’s I’ve seen in the role and her, seemingly effortless, singing voice was stunning.

To take on a Whitney back-catalogue is daunting for anybody, however Williams’ vocal range more than covers the notes she's required to hit! 

Ayden Callaghan stays with the show as Frank Turner with a list of credits as long as your arm, albeit not as a West End leading man. However, his experience is clear to see. Frank is the archetypal 'gentleman' and Callaghan fits that persona perfectly.

Special mention should go to Emily-Mae Walker as Rachel's sister, Nicki. A part which often gets overlooked when you've got a 'Whitney-esque' character on stage, Walker excelled this evening and gave a beautiful vocal performance with her rendition of Saving All My Love For You being a stand out moment of the show.

An element The Bodyguard is well known for is its staging, lighting and effects. From the subtleties of the productions mood lighting to the out and out stadium level extravaganza that plays through the first number, this show is visually beautiful and pushes the boundaries of most peoples understanding of musical theatre.

However, that said, in my previous review of the show I mentioned there was a noticeable difference in the set in comparison to previous tours. Seemingly a lot more basic, there were also points where a usually slick scene change became less so.

These changes were most noticeable when the action was taking place in Rachel’s mansion which was portrayed by sets of swag curtains which felt like they were there to fill an otherwise set-free stage as much as to connote luxury.

Rachel’s kitchen was no longer glass panelled doors and a traditional island and was now simply a table, centre stage. Despite those few concerns, many of the other points that seemed overlooked last time round seem to have been fixed and, even with those subtle changes, the production is back where it belongs.

That said, this show never stops and there's no lull's in the score to allow you to catch your breath. This really is intense and, even for the non-Whitney fans in the audience, you can't deny that this is hit after hit from an artist who sold almost 200 million records in her time.

The Bodyguard plays at The Alexandra until Saturday 30th December. For more information, or to get your tickets, head online to

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