The Bodyguard returned to the Midlands this week with a new star in town, as former Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton takes over the Rachel Marron reins for its run at Wolves Grand. Once again this knockout musical showed why it is one of the standout shows in modern musical theatre straight from the showstopping opener ‘Queen of the Night’ (surely one of Whitney’s most underrated songs?) to the forever beautiful ‘I will always love you’. The Bodyguard is exciting, glossy and glamorous, and all about beautiful, beautiful vocals.
The story is familiar to anyone who has seen the ultra-popular film which starred the late Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner. Rachel Marron is a musical superstar, a beautiful diva with the whole world at her feet. Her perfect life is threatened by a pyschopath who is obsessed with her, something her management team have decided to hide from her. They hire the singer a bodyguard, Frank Farmer, (Ayden Callaghan) to help protect her, but without knowing what is happening, she resents his presence in her life. When she finally realises that she is really in danger, her feelings towards the handsome Farmer change, and a relationship develops. But danger and tragedy are never far away, and the tale takes a tragic turn.
The whole of the ensemble cast is very good, with Ayden Callaghan exhibiting a sort of Kevin Costner style charm and reliability as Frank, and James Groom given some of the best one liners as manager Sy. But this is a musical that is all about great women singers, and in Melody Thornton and Emily-Mae as her tragic sister Nicki, The Bodyguard has two who are capable of breathing life and pathos into a song. Run to You in particular, performed as a duet between the two sisters, is so beguilingly beautiful that it brought a tear to my eye, and I know I wasn’t the only one touched by this song. Melody, as you would expect from a former Pussycat Doll, also shone in the high octane dance numbers like Queen of the Night and a montage featuring ‘Million Dollar Bill’ amongst others, showing her skill at really belting out a number, whilst the tingling ‘All At Once’ was performed with real emotion by Emily.
The staging of The Bodyguard allows you to feel at times like you are attending a Rachel Marron concert, and this makes for thrilling entertainment, whilst the scene where the stalker (Marios Nicolaides – very good) tracks down Rachel and her family is genuinely chilling.
The Bodyguard is supreme entertainment and a must see even for those who have never seen the original film.
10 May–13 May 2023
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