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5* Review: The Bodyguard – The Palace Theatre, Manchester

With Alexandra Burke of X Factor fame shining in the title role and gunshots echoing through the auditorium the crowd was hooked from the opening scenes of The Bodyguard at the Palace Theatre.

This sleek production closely follows the 1992 film version of the romantic thriller starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner  and as a fan of the original I can honestly say I enjoyed this stage show just as much.

The story follows hard-headed superstar Rachel Marron, who bows to pressure to hire bodyguard Frank Farmer after a stalker threatens the life of her and her young son.

At first their relationship is frosty but as time goes by they grow closer. Rachel’s jealous sister Nicki  feels she should be getting some of the limelight and we see how all their futures unfold.

Alexandra Burke makes the role of Rachel Marron her own, never trying to imitate Whitney she gives a phenomenal performance with first-class acting and spine-tingling vocals.

Melissa James as Nicki  is also outstanding with impressive vocals: she is one to watch for the future.

Mark Jones is confident in the role of Rachel’s  son, with a fantastic stage presence for one so young, while Stuart Reid as The Bodyguard seems a little wooden at first but gradually you warm to him.

The stalker (Mike Denman) is a menacing figure, always lurking in the background and bringing a eerie feel to the role.

All the hits from the film are included, and luckily for the audience, a fair few of Whitney Houston classics are thrown in too.

The whole cast is flawless with energetic dancers keeping the atmosphere at a high level.

Set changes are seamless and the lighting is some of the best I have ever seen. Alexandra herself has no less than 27 costume changes – no mean feat in a 2 1/2 hour show.

Alexandra Burke shines throughout and a  well-deserved  standing ovation that came after a emotional performance of ‘I Will Always Love You’ had me, I don’t mind admitting had me in tears. Her whole performance had been polished, top notch and she gave her all.

For the grand finale everybody was up on their feet dancing and singing along to ‘I Want to Dance With Somebody’ after what had been a amazing night. Myself and my sister left on a happy high still singing the memorable songs.

The Bodyguard runs until 9 January at The Palace Theatre in Manchester.

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