Theatre review: The Bodyguard, Glasgow

IS IT musical theatre? Is it a giant rock gig? Or a 21st century celebration of the whole idea of celebrity?

At the King's Theatre. Picture: Contributed
At the King's Theatre. Picture: Contributed

The Bodyguard

King’s Theatre, Glasgow

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****

With a bag-search to prevent the crowd from bringing in their own drink, and an audience so excited that they keep wrecking the show’s quieter moments with yelps of anticipation, it’s not quite like any other musical I’ve seen.

Essentially, The Bodyguard is a fairly faithful staging of the story of the film, which uses film-style presentation – large projected close-ups, filmed images and titles – to avoid the more difficult aspects of transforming film into stage show. Alexandra Burke, the 2008 X-Factor winner, turns in a glamorous, gorgeous, yet down-to-earth and witty performance as Rachel Marron, the soul-singing superstar who is threatened by a violent stalker, and turns to her bodyguard Frank Farmer for practical and emotional support; Stuart Reid is a shade wooden as Frank, and Melissa James sings and acts beautifully as Rachel’s overshadowed sister, Nicki.

It’s the songs, though, that really tell the story of The Bodyguard; and from the great anthem I Will Always Love You to the final version of I Wanna Dance With Somebody, they’re presented here with a level of sheer glitz and pzazz that fairly takes the breath away.

King’s, Glasgow, until 14 March; His Majesty’s, Aberdeen, 16-21 March; Playhouse, Edinburgh, 29 September-10 October.