burke and Frank

Alexandra Burke as Rachel Marron and Benoît Maréchal as Frank Farmer. Pictures: Paul Coltas

The Bodyguard - The Musical

Wolverhampton Grand


As I took my seat at Wolverhampton’s glorious Grand, it occurred to me that The Bodyguard’s greatest asset is also its greatest enemy – namely Whitney Houston.

Based on Laurence’s Kasden’s film of the same name, the musical is all about the music. Yes, there is a plot, slightly tweaked from the film but, in truth, it is incidental – this production is all about the music; which brings us back to the problem of Whitney.

The problem being that you’re there because of Whitney’s amazing voice and it’s a voice that can’t possibly be replicated. So, you’re there for something which, in essence, you can never hope to hear. Sounds like a recipe for failure, doesn’t it?

Only it isn’t.

This is an absolute belter of a musical, with songs delivered with real passion.

Though the programme features Alexandra Burke extensively throughout, it should be noted that the performances from June 25th – July 1st (with matiness performances on the 3rd and 6th of July) feature Jennlee Shallow in the role of Rachel Marron.

Should you be a Burke fan she plays the role from Tuesday 2nd – Saturday 6th. I have not seen her in the role, but if you are a fan of Whitney then rest assured that Jennlee Shallow has an absolute belter of a voice.     

Taking in all the hits including I wanna dance with somebody, Run to You, Queen of the night, One moment in Time to name but a few the musical score really does hit the spot..

Particular highlights were I have nothing and I will always love you which were spine-tinglingly good.

As well as the excellent main singers in the form of Jennlee and on-stage sister Micha Richardson there is an excellent cast topped off with French hunk, Benoît Maréchal as Frank Farmer and young star in the making Jesse Oniha as Fletcher, Rachel’s son. 

The supporting dancers are an excellent ensemble and bring real energy to the piece as does the excellent score.

Special mention must also go to the set designers, who have done a fantastic job in creating a myriad of different scenes and locations – adding a layer of class to the production.


Phil Atkinson as the stalker, who had his  . . . moment

Whilst ostensibly all about the music, the production does have charm with some funny moments – some intentional and some not so intentional. My two favourite moments were of the latter variety, one being a slightly unfortunately timed line from All the man that I need which produced a wave of laughter which made me proud to be part of an audience with such a mucky mind. Well done Wolverhampton.

My favourite comedy moment however, was reserved for when the baddie of the piece, the stalker - Phil Atkinson, was revelling in a dramatic moment where he postured in a spotlight, only for his serious moment to be overridden by a collective ‘phwoar’ from the ladies, and some men, in the audience.

For some reason, poor Phil did not seem to have a shirt on for large portions of the first half. (spoiler alert; there is a good reason – he keeps himself in very good nick by all accounts. In fact, if I looked like that, I may never wear a shirt ever again.).

Overall, this is a really good show and really good fun and if you love Whitney Houston then you’ll love this. To 06-07-19

Theo Clarke


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