Hull New Theatre – until 19th January 2019
Reviewed by Catherine McWilliams
Wow, wow, wow! How lucky am I (and the other members of the packed audience) to have seen such an amazing performance of The Bodyguard at Hull New Theatre last night. Inevitably the audience was on their feet at the end to give Alexandra Burke (Rachel Marron) and the rest of the stunning cast a standing ovation but something I have never heard is the volume of cheering when the curtain went down for the interval. Choose a superlative, dazzling, glorious, brilliant or magnificent, no make that all of these, one would just be inadequate for this show. It has everything, a cracking story line, superb performances, stunning scenery and lighting, fabulous dancing, and of course amazing music.
The story follows the hiring of a bodyguard (Benoît Maréchal) to protect a Grammy award winning singer Rachel Marron (Alexandra Burke) from a stalker who is threatening her and her family. He is a fish out of water in this world but gradually falls for the singer resulting in him not concentrating on his job as well as he should. The songs (and what an amazing list of songs) are used very cleverly to add to and enhance the storyline.
Alexandra Burke is outstanding as Rachel Marron showing the tender side of the character as well as the singer as diva. Every one of her songs was beautiful whether the upbeat I Wanna Dance with Somebody or the slower ballad Greatest Love of All. I constantly changed my mind about which was my favourite, and if pushed would say – all of them! Her costumes were superb and so many costume changes carried out so quickly – a good job backstage.
However Alexandra Burke could only dazzle us because of the immensely talented supporting cast.
Benoît Maréchal made a very convincing introverted bodyguard and he played beautifully against Alexandra Burke. His karaoke rendition was er…different! I can’t have been the only one at the end of the show willing him not to walk away.
Micha Richardson was excellent as Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sister, her voice is beautiful and the duets with Alexandra Burke were heartbreaking.
Jesse Oniha is a young man with amazing talent, playing Rachel’s son Fletcher with skill. What a singer and dancer and such maturity.
Now to The Stalker played with sufficient creepiness by Phil Atkinson, a nasty piece of work. I was a little alarmed though that some of the audience couldn’t initially see the evilness beyond the six-pack, but the enormous boo he received at the end of the show told of a part well performed!
The ensemble cast of singers and dancers were a very talented bunch producing some jaw dropping routines.
Scenery and lighting took us from nightclubs to a mansion to bedrooms to a log cabin, with often amazing speed and such incredibly realistic sets.
Lastly the music, the Musical Director Michael Riley did a fabulous job leading his orchestra well. It made a lovely change at the end of the show when a shot of all the musicians playing was projected onto the backdrop of the stage – good to see who these talented guys were.
I doubt there are many seats to be had for the remaining performances – but if you have to, buy yourself a single seat and sit next to a stranger rather than missing simply the best show ever at Hull New Theatre.