Published: 17:09, 16 May 2019
| Updated: 17:09, 16 May 2019
Bang! Tea spilled onto my lap as I was jolted back into my seat by the sound of a gunshot.
If the producers of West End hit The Bodyguard wanted my attention, they'd certainly got it with their opening scene.
I was at the Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury as the award-winning musical came to town this week for a near-two-week run.
Based on the 1992 romantic thriller starring Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, the show tells the story of global singing sensation Rachel Marron, who is forced to hire bodyguard Frank Farmer after receiving death threats.
I won't ruin the plot (even though the movie is 27 years old!) but love blossoms between the pair as Marron is hounded by her menacing stalker.
But the show is less about the romance, and more about the music - and it has a soundtrack to rival any other.
Marron is played by X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who unsurprisingly shines in the lead role.
Her vocals were faultless as she effortlessly belted out classics including Queen of the Night, Greatest Love of All, Run to You and One Moment in Time - as well as the show-stopping finale which literally had the audience on its feet.
The role of Farmer is taken up by Benoît Maréchal, who previously starred in the show's French production. Learning this after explained why his accent jarred a little at times, but he still pulled off the stoic, almost wooden, character made famous by Costner, while raising some laughs with a memorable karaoke scene.
While Burke's performance is hard to top, Micha Richardson ran her close as Marron's sister, Nicki, leaving her mark during duets of Run to You and I Have Nothing.
Also making an impression was the young actor playing Marron's son, Fletcher. With some smooth vocals, and equally slick dance moves, he'll no doubt find himself on a West End stage in the future.
Together the cast brought the film to life, with some impressive special effects helping follow the stalker's sinister moves, while also adding a bit of cheese during a stunning finale of I Will Always Love You.
If you liked the movie, you'll love the musical. Burke's performance alone is worth the entry price alone.
The Bodyguard runs at the Marlowe until Saturday, May 28. For tickets visit marlowetheatre.com.
More by this authorJoe Walker