GT Stage

Review: Alexandra Burke's The Bodyguard

We look at The X Factor star's West End debut

The Bodyguard is Whitney Houston’s 1992 mega-hit, telling the story of an Oscar-nominated singer who finds herself stalked by a jealous, obsessive fan. The film grossed some $410m in cinemas back in the 90s, and its soundtrack became the best selling movie album of all time.

Since its transition to stage, the show has defied many expectations to survive several years in an ever cut throat West End. Its mix of classic Whitney anthems, elaborate staging and celebrity leads has maintained The Bodyguard as one of Theatreland's most reliable hits.

But could Alexandra Burke fill those glistening leading shoes?

Well, big shoes they are indeed. Iconic belters like One moment In Time and I Will Always Love You have been murdered a hundred times over by other singers. The rows of karaoke bars just a few doors up from The Adelphi would be prime example. But this is no karaoke. There's only only one murder in The Bodyguard, and it isn't any of Whitney's songs. Burke sings with all the passion and soul that led us to fall in love with her years ago, nailing hit after hit.

The show has evolved since its original format, with more sing-a-long, classic jukebox musicality worked in. This detracts from the show's real strengths; it's a powerful story and a classic film. This isn't – or shouldn't be – just another West End jukebox. Whitney knew better than that, and so did the original film. Though Whitney's American accent was somewhat more convincing than Alexandra's...

That said, Alexandra Burke is the rawest Rachel Marron to date, in a show that plays on its emotional connections. Love. Jealousy. Danger. Enough drama to get you through to an X Factor bootcamp. The Bodyguard is an emotional roller coaster; the most passionate show in the West End and, most importantly, a great night out.

GT gives it: 4/5

To get tickets, pop on to The Bodyguard website

Words Benjamin Butterworth

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