Wednesday, 14 October 2015

"The Bodyguard"
Nottingham Royal Concert Hall.

Now here's a show that I would see again and again and again. So where do I start my gushing?

Ok, It's based on the film of the same name but with several additional songs and scenes added for continuity. Rachel Marron is a superstar who has fallen prey to a stalker who has got into her dressing room while she's on stage and has left her a letter and steals one of her costumes. Frank Farmer is hired as her bodyguard because he's the best in the business.

After the initial rank pulling from our diva superstar, she falls in love with him, and he breaks the bodyguard code of conduct by falling for her as well. In the background, Rachel's sister, Nicki, also is falling for Frank's charms.

The show starts with a gunshot and we're taken back to Frank's most recent success, and then we're transported to a high energy concert with dancers, pyrotechnics and the gorgeous Rachel, belting out "Queen Of the Night" This could be a full on concert atmosphere here if we didn't realise that we were watching a musical with a story behind it. It was loud, it was bright, it was flashy, it was sexy,it was brilliant. Needless to say I LOVED IT!!!

Alexandra Burke is just amazing as Rachel Marron. What stage presence, energy, choreography, and that soulful voice that just makes your spine tingle. She reaches deep within you and pulls your heart up to your mouth and rips your spine out. She rocks that stage with her dance numbers and she makes you cry with those wonderful Whitney Houston ballads. She can act as well.

Frank is played by Stuart Reid who is more charismatic than Costner and comes with a great sense of humour. Just hear his karaoke version of "I Will; Always Love You". You're drawn to him because of his compassion in the role and his no nonsense attitude towards the job that he has. His fatherly protectiveness to Fletcher, Rachel's son, and the way he takes care of Nicki, Rachel's sister.The sort of bloke you'd be happy to go down the pub with for a pint.

Nicki, the sister, played by Melissa James, is blessed with an equally sweet and powerful voice, and the pairing of Alexandra and Melissa is an absolute soulful joy to behold. Aural deliciousness.

Fletcher, for the tour is played by not one but six separate young actors, and tonight was played by Daniel Daszek-Green. An absolute star in the making. He can dance, sing, act and will be winning many young girl's hearts throughout this tour with all of the above talents. Coming from the legendary Sylvia Young School, he's on his way to a very bright future.

The dancing is amazingly tight and energetic, and one for the ladies as there seem to be a shortage of shirts for the muscle-bound, toned men to parade around in. Then again the costumes for Alexandra ranged from the incredibly classy to the down right sexy. I loved the red shiny number myself, just haven't got Alexandra's legs to pull it off the way she does! let me just say "WOW".

This is such a big show that there are several people listed for each technical job, but the technical side of this show is just fantastic. A concert-style light show, the clarity of the sound was just out of this world but what really impressed me was the smooth scenery changes. Scenes just seemed to disappear and the next one appear. A triumph for the stage manager and deputy.

As with many of today's modern theatrical shows, they are using more and more video-tech and projection scenes and this was done to great affect with the design of this by Ross Bristo.

This has to be one of the most exciting shows that I've seen at the Royal centre for a long time. The two and a half hours just flew by. It drew you you in and danced you out at the end.

A live orchestra, under the direction of Tom Gearing, produced a crisp and clear sound. giving ultimate dance-ability to Whitney's classic party songs like "How Will I Know", "I'm Every Woman", "Million Dollar Bill","So Emotional", "Queen Of the Night" and the massive encore of "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" which had everyone on their feet dancing and clapping along. Even me!

Mix these with some amazing ballads like "I Have Nothing", "Run To You", "One Moment In Time" and the classic "I Will Always Love You" which had Alexandra raised from the stage on a pedestal above the audience swathed in light. So deserving of the rapturous standing ovation given to her and the whole cast.

If you only go out and see one theatre show this year, please make it this one. I guarantee you will not regret it, whether you're a Whitney fan or an Alexandra fan, it will get you so emotional.

"The Bodyguard" is at the Nottingham Royal Concert Hall until Saturday 24 October 2015.

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