Tuesday, September 26

The Bodyguard – Liverpool Empire

Based on the iconic Warner Bros. 1992 film starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner this musical follows the same plot with a few more Whitney classics along the way. Former secret service agent Frank Farmer, is hired to protect global superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker and falling for each other along the way. If you’re a fan of Whitney songs you’re bound to enjoy this.

If there’s one way to get an audience’s attention it’s a loud gun shot to start the show with a literal bang! Once the audience have recovered from that excitement they are dazzled by the blinding lights by Mark Henderson where we see our superstar Rachel performing her opening number song. Full of energy and upbeat music, Australian Idol star, Emily Williams who plays our leading lady wows us with her voice from start to finish. Her vocals are strong and unwavering. She brings the house down with those big Whitney power house moments and gives vulnerability when needed for the quieter and intimate songs. My favourite song was ‘I’m every woman’ not only was it sung well it had tonnes of energy and full of the theatricality you expect from a musical.

The stage whilst minimal utilised the space well. Duncan McLean as Video Designer cleverly used screens with projections of the characters at times. These were slick transitions between scenes and when it shows the stalker writing his letter to Rachel. Then again later the projections show Frank and Rachel’s iconic moment when the bodyguard swoops her into his arms and carries her off stage from the chaos. Their chemistry is great and the characters make a likeable couple. A bit of humour thrown in when Ayden Callaghan who plays Frank sings a bit of karaoke in front of her.

I have to mention Emily-Mae who plays Nicki, Rachel’s sister who was phenomenal. We first hear her sing ‘Saving all my love for you’ in a quiet little jazz club and Frank like us is impressed by her vocals. Hiding under her sisters limelight you quickly realise that she too can sing. Her character later makes the audience laugh at a dig on Rachel and Franks developing relationship.

The ensemble are a bunch of strong and impressive dancers in particular. The dance sequences were all fabulous, really showing how talented they all were with the female dancers being spin around in their sparkly gold dresses. Karen Bruce did a great job at choreography without taking too much attention from our leading lady singing during these dances. Tim Harley as set and costume designer gave the ensemble a good mixture of costumes to give the show some show biz quality and picking the right costumes for Rachel when she’s in the comfort of her own home to make her down to earth behind the scenes.

With so many amazing songs to fit into the 2 hours and 11 minute show the plot itself feels a little rushed and brushes over a big moment towards the end too quickly for my liking. If that means cutting a fan favourite song out however I can see why this would be have been difficult to please everyone. After refraining from singing along during the show, the audience are at the end invited onto their feet and to sing along to ‘I wanna Dance with Somebody’ everybody clapping and channelling their inner Whitney. How could you resist? Looking around everyone was joining in and loving the moment. Great show, great cast, great night out.

The Bodyguard is at Liverpool Empire until Saturday the 16th September before continuing its UK Tour.

Reviewer: Emma Lambe

Reviewed: 12th September 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.