The Bodyguard Returns

Jul 4 2019 | By More

Burke is back and better than ever

When Alexandra Burke takes to the Edinburgh Playhouse stage on Tuesday July 9 2019, as The Bodyguard returns for a fortnight stint, she will be in very familiar territory on several counts.

First she has been on this stage before – in the previous tour of The Bodyguard in 2015 (★★★★☆ Rocks it), of course, and then as Deloris Van Cartier in the musical version of Sister Act which played there in 2017 (★★★★☆ Habit forming).

Alexandra Burke. Pic:Paul Coltas

But mostly, she is in the familiar territory of a musical in which she has starred in the West End, then on its first UK tour and now, as it continues on the road for a second time.

The stage musical might be riding shotgun on the back of the blockbuster movie – made iconic by Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron. But having first come to prominence on X-Factor, Burke has built a serious career on making that Whitney role her own.

Watching Burke back in December last year when the current tour opened in Glasgow – and when the rest of the theatre world was deep in Panto frenzy – it was clear that she had taken the role up another step since 2015.

Here was an actor who is more mature in herself and her practice. And it shows in her creation of the role of global superstar Rachel Marron, threatened by a stalker in the midst of her big push for a best-music Oscar.


“I’m in a different place in my life now,” Burke says when asked how she prepared for the role this time round. “I’ve been lucky enough to have amazing experiences with Sister Act, Chess, Chicago and Strictly Come Dancing. So I was hoping that people would see growth in the sense of my dancing ability, acting and vocally.

Benoît Maréchal and Alexandra Burke. Pic: Paul Coltas

“So much has happened in my life that I’m taking all my experiences and putting them into the show in the hope that people can see that in my performance. I’ve also seen my nieces and nephews grow up and tried to be the best Auntie I can be which isn’t the same as being a parent but gives me some idea.”

Watching her in Glasgow, Burke brought a relaxed confidence to Rachel’s big performance numbers, the dance moves flowing where there had been a sense of concentration before.

And the relationship between Rachel and her new bodyguard Frank Farmer, played by Benoit Marechal, had a stronger feel to it. Yes, Burke is back and better than ever – Edinburgh audiences are certainly in for a treat.

Burke famously only performs once a day, to preserve her voice, and will only be playing the evening performances in Edinburgh, with Jennlee Shallow taking on the role for all matinees.

smokey darkness

And watching her on stage in December, her voice had such a smokey darkness that I worried she would make it through the performance, let alone a year-long tour. And then she hit those Whitney Houston big, high notes – never belting them out, but giving them a real clarity and depth.

Alexandra Burke and dancers. Pic:Paul Coltas

“What’s really exciting about the show is that it includes Whitney Houston’s catalogue of work which really makes the show,” she says when asked why she is returning to it. “It takes me back to when I was a child and had a hairbrush in my hand and was always singing Whitney to my Mum.

“For me, the storyline never gets old. People always ask me if I get tired of performing the same show six times a week but I honestly don’t. It’s never the same show each night. It was also an exciting prospect to be singing Whitney Houston for a year, which of course will be tough but at the same time very rewarding.”

As for that Playhouse stage and the prospect of returning to the city in the Summer, Burke says: “What’s not to love about Edinburgh? I just love the history, walking around the city.

“I once tried a deep friend Mars Bar when we were there once before! It’s gorgeous, and lovely place to sightsee and I really love the theatre as well, it’s so big and beautiful! It’s a great venue and everyone where is so lovely.”

And performing in the playhouse to a house of up to 3,000 people?

“This show is my dream, you can’t beat the adrenaline of the end of the show when it hits the finale and everyone is on their feet, that feeling of knowing everyone has enjoyed the show.”


The Bodyguard.
Edinburgh Playhouse, Greenside Place, EH1 3AA
Tuesday 9 – Saturday 20 July 2019
Evenings Mon – Sat: 7.30pm; Thurs, Sat matinees: 2.30pm
For tickets and information: Click here to book now.

The original cast recording is available from Amazon. Click image for details:

The Bodyguard on tour:
9-20 July 2019 Edinburgh
0844 871 3014 Book online
23 July – 3 August 2019 Newcastle
Theatre Royal, Newcastle
08448 11 21 21 Book online
7-17 August 2019 Dublin
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
0844 847 2455 Book online
21-31 August 2019 Plymouth
Theatre Royal
01752 267222 Book online
13 September – 6 October 2019 Tokyo
Tokyu Theatre Orb
Book online
11 – 20 October 2019 Osaka
Umeda Arts Theater Main Hall
Book online
5-9 November 2019 Aberdeen
His Majesty’s Theatre
01224 641122 Book online
12-23 November 2019 Sunderland
Sunderland Empire
0844 871 3022 Book online
26 November – 7 December 2019 Bradford
The Alhambra Theatre
01274 432000 Book online
10 December 2019 – 4 January 2020 Manchester
Palace Theatre
0844 871 3019 Book online
8 – 18 January 2020 Dartford
Orchard Theatre
01322 220000 Book online
21 January – 1 February 2020 Birmingham
The Alexandra Theatre
0844 871 3011 Book online


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