The Bodyguard

“Melody Thornton shines as leading lady Rachel Marron with outstanding vocals”.

We are all probably familiar with the 1992 film, The Bodyguard starring Whitney Houston as Rachel Marron, a global superstar blighted by an obsessive stalker who is soon dealt with by her new Bodyguard, Frank Farmer played by Kevin Costner.  Well, the stage version of The Bodyguard has been entertaining audiences since 2012 with many incredible performers playing the lead role to critical acclaim.  Here we are in 2023, and Melody Thornton of Pussycat Dolls fame has taken the mantle and I have to say completely surprised me with her performance and superb vocal ability.

The show starts with a bang, quite literally, and we are treated to the first of many Whitney Houston classics, Queen of the Night. Thornton looks every inch the superstar and instantly commands the stage.  The song list for this show is probably one of the most vocally demanding for any performer, however Thornton absolutely delivers each and every song with precision and flair.  When a role is so famously associated with one of probably the best female vocalists of our generation, you would be forgiven for comparing whoever is playing the role on stage, however Thornton completely holds her own and produces a wonderful sound throughout.

Surrounded by her entourage, Manager Bill Devaney (John Macaulay), Security Tony Scibelli (Graham Elwell) and Sy Spector (James Groom), Rachel Marron has everything she could possibly need, including her very own stalker (Marios Nicolaides).  Her manager employs Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) to protect Rachel, much to her annoyance, and they start their relationship off on the wrong foot.  We also meet Nicki Marron (Emily-Mae), sister of the superstar who lives in her sister’s shadow, jealous of her success and fame.

I have to make mention of the outstanding vocal performance from Emily-Mae especially during ‘Saving All My Love For You’.  With a beautiful tone, Emily-Mae was able to bring a subtle and gentle interpretation of the musical numbers she performed throughout the show.

Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer was every inch the serious, brooding bodyguard brought in to protect Rachel Marron.  Callaghan played the role well and had a wonderful rapport with the youngest member of the cast, Fletcher, Rachel’s son, played superbly by Reneo Kusi-Appauh.

During the show we are witness to some big production numbers as Rachel performs to her adoring fans.  The stage really comes to life with incredible lighting designed by Mark Henderson and sound by Richard Brooker which boomed around the auditorium transporting you into that live concert setting.  Rachel Marron wears an impressive array of stage outfits designed by Tim Hatley, consisting of many sequin clad dresses and a stylish, classy gold dress fit for the Oscars.  The choreography by Frank Thompson during the high energy numbers was impressive and filled the stage, with the ensemble cast proving why they are instrumental in big production numbers.

As the threat of the stalker intensifies, Frank takes Rachel, Nicki and Fletcher away to his home in the middle of nowhere, however the stalker is always one step behind and Nicki finds herself victim of the situation, losing her life at the hands of this crazed man.  Nicolaides plays the role of the stalker exceptionally well, with many spine-tingling moments whenever he appears on stage.

The pinnacle of Marron’s career approaches as she is nominated for an Oscar and all eyes are on her as this is the biggest opportunity for the stalker to take her life.  As the red laser from the gun centres on Rachel during her performance, Frank jumps into action, flying across the stage and taking the brunt of the bullet, making sure that Rachel is saved by all costs.  This moment was played out extremely well and sent a chill down my spine as prior to this the stalker points the gun out into the audience, with the red laser making contact with many an unsuspecting person resulting in a buzz around the theatre.

This show has it all, drama, suspense, a few jump scares, incredible vocal performances and probably one of the best song lists of classic Whitney Houston hits.  ‘I Have Nothing’ but 5 stars for this production, so make sure you don’t miss out and head down to the Wolverhampton Grand before it leaves on the 13th May. Tickets available here: THE BODYGUARD | Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

Full tour details can be found here: The Bodyguard Musical UK Tour

Photo credit: Paul Coltas

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