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The Bodyguard, Hull New Theatre
Graham Clark, Features Writer
photo by Paul Coltas
Whether you are a fan of the film version of The Bodyguard and the songs of Whitney Houston or perhaps a fan of Alexandra Burke there is no doubt that you will not be disappointed with this rousing production.

To make the show really work you have to have a singer who can convey the emotions of the songs and also to be a powerful soul singer - Alexandra Burke has those qualities on both counts. Rather than being remembered as the former X Factor winner and Strictly Come Dancing finalist, Burke will stay fresh in the minds of many for this glittering portrayal of global singing superstar Rachel Marron.

The story line sticks to the film one - a world famous singer at the top of her career has a stalker who gets into her dressing room one night when she is performing on stage, he steals one of her dresses, he continues to stalk her, a bodyguard is employed to protect her, she falls in love with her bodyguard and the hero saves the day.

photo by Paul Coltas
From the opening sequence where we are treated to an epic performance of Queen of the Night, Burke owns the stage. In fact it looked more like the closing part of one of her own gigs. The dancers never miss a step throughout the night, I can't think of a better opening of a show I've seen in years.

Benoit Marcechal plays Frank Farmer, The Bodyguard and although he was smooth and brought calm to the stag,e at times I thought he was too smooth, lacking the authority and pose that a Bodyguard should have.

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Rising young star Jesse Oniha plays Rachel Marron's son Fletcher. His youthful innocent character developed and the chemistry that built up between him and Bodyguard Frank Farmer worked well.

The rivalry between Rachel Marron and her sister Nicki (played by Micha Richardson) was ever present. Richardson herself was a delight as the sister who always seemed to be destined to be the underdog.

Phil Atkinson at The Stalker brought a nervous menace as he was always there lurking in the background. Like the baddie in the pantomime you could almost hear the audience boo when he appeared on stage.

Some of the songs though were not actually in the original version of the film, but if you are a Whitney Houston fan you will hear more than you expected. Burke doesn't try to replicate the songs altogether but gives her own slant on them. Another difference is that mobile phones did not feature in the film either.

Yes, there is a dramatic finish, but then as a finale the audience are on their feet for a final boogie. Go see it, you'll love it, I did. An extraordinary pleasure from start to finish.

Runs until Saturday 19 January

Hull New Theatre
Box Office 01482 300306
www.hulltheatres.co.uk

The Bodyguard, Hull New Theatre, 12th January 2019, 10:08 AM