Alexandra Burke takes on Whitney role in musical
Review by Hannah Richardson
Any Alexandra Burke fans who haven’t already got tickets for The Bodyguard The Musical had better look sharp as availability is very limited.
The touring production played to a full house at Milton Keynes Theatre on Wednesday night, and Burke received a standing ovation from her loyal following.
Only 26 years old, Burke takes the role of Rachel Marron, the part her idol, Whitney Houston, played in the 1992 film version.
She is partnered by Stuart Reid, playing bodyguard Frank Farmer, and ably supported by Rachel John as Nicki Marron.
Special mention must also go to the loveable Mickel Stewart-Grimes, who played Rachel’s son Fletcher on the night.
The show is really little more than a vehicle for a string of Whitney musical numbers.
Diva Rachel Marron has an unknown stalker. Frank is hired at her bodyguard. Initially, she resents his interference but gradually, guess what, they fall in love.
But the danger doesn’t end there, and there are moments of drama in this romantic thriller.
The big numbers are mainly sung by Burke, but with with some excellent contributions from John, and a moving duet with the pair of them singing Run To You.
Burke doesn’t have Whitney’s breadth of vocal range, and was at her best in the middle of her range. At first I felt that she swallowed the low notes when she was singing quietly. But her voice came into its own in all its richenss when she belted out the big numbers in the second half of the show.
The musical setting also appeared to shy away from the high notes, which Burke she largely gave away to the chorus and the audience – who were more than happy to oblige.
I was sorry not to hear her sing the chorus of my personal favourite, I Wanna Dance with Somebody.
But it’s a massive undertaking for Burke, featuring all the Whitney classics, including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, I’m Your Baby Tonight, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love of All, I Wanna Dance with Somebody and one of the biggest selling songs of all time, I Will Always Love You, and she acquits herself well.
And judging by the press night audience, who were on their feet clapping and waving by curtain call, they felt they got their money’s worth.
To enquire about ticket availability, call 0844 871 7652 or visit www. atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes
Please note, at matinee performances, the role of Rachel Marron is taken by Carole Stennett, who was last seen on stage in Milton Keynes in the pantomime Peter Pan.