I'd heard nothing but good things about The Bodyguard from my colleagues and family- so I was very excited to go to the Liverpool Empire Theatre last night and see what all the fuss was about.
Alexandra Burke plays Rachel Marron- a globally successful singer whose safety and that of her son, Fletcher, is in danger after she receives a threatening letter from a stalker in her dressing room.
That's when Frank Farmer arrives- an ex secret service agent- turned bodyguard- who is willing to risk his life for Rachel and her son- because it comes with the territory.
The show hooks you from the very beginning- I will let you find out why- but it certainly grabs your attention from the moment it starts.
It was as if Burke was born for this role- she paid homage to the character and the Whitney songs but also made them her own. Her voice has such a depth and richness that she easily handled the wide range of notes. Whitney Houston songs are notoriously difficult to sing and Burke made it look effortless.
What an opening- Burke arrived on stage in a gold warrior dress and performed 'Queen of the Night' surrounded by fire and shirtless men in chains. This really set the tone for the evening- at this point I knew I was in for a quality show.
There were times this production looked like a movie. The scenes were interspersed with projections as big as the stage boasting images of the stalker and towards the end- a montage of Rachel and Frank's moments together. They provided an epic backdrop for Burke's solo numbers.
The set arrangement also added to the grandeur- as the screens moved seamlessly between each of the scenes by interlinking to look like a fading camera shot.
Stuart Reed was excellent as the straight-laced, career obsessed Frank. It was wonderful to see both characters teasing out each other's softer, more relaxed side as their trust strengthened. Both of them were guarded in their own way and for very different reasons but they seemed to bring out the best in each other as the show progressed.
Matthew Stavers was suitably creepy as the stalker and got a well-deserved 'boo' at the end for his convincing performance as the over obsessed admirer.
Rachel John played the role of Rachel's sister Nicki Marron and you really felt her pain throughout the production as someone who was cast aside despite being just as talented as her sibling.
The unforgettable moment where Fletcher rescues Marron from the eager crowd of fans was slowed down so the audience could sense the threat of claustrophobia and the fragility of being on stage. It certainly did one of the most memorable scenes from the movie justice.
The end scene featuring the iconic 'I Will Always Love You' was even better than I expected. It gave me goosebumps when she hit the famous high note. It was what everyone had come for and Burke owned the stage at that moment.
Clearly, I wasn't the only one who enjoyed myself as the cast got a standing ovation for their efforts at the end.
The Bodyguard easily goes in my top five musical list. It's not often I leave the theatre and still feel a buzz- but with this- I couldn't stop talking about it the entire car journey home.