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Review: The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard

By: Rosie Sharman-Ward, TRP Reviewer


The extravagant glitter bomb of a show, The Bodyguard, explodes on to the stage from the thrilling first moment leaving a dazed audience happily expectant. With an opening number most would consider a noteworthy finale, we are already hooked and delighting in Melody Thornton’s fabulous voice. Director Thea Sharrock’s tour de force shines in all areas of musical performance. Every member of the talented company brings energy and excellence. Framed by a clever, versatile set design and wonderful costumes by Tim Hatley, we are treated to superb singing and stunning dancing. Karen Bruce’s choreography is snappy and exciting, with a nod to the Nineties roots of the show.

Whilst ticking the musicals box with panache, the show becomes more than this. The facets of the original, somewhat thin, story of a tough, taciturn bodyguard hired to protect a soul superstar, have been enhanced by drawing the characters and the relationships between them a little larger than in Lawrence Kasdan’s original screenplay. In between blasting out the spangled showstoppers, Melody Thornton’s Rachel Marron is a brilliant, determined woman who knows what she wants but she is also a mum and therefore vulnerable. She is a perfect, prickly foil to Ayden Callaghan’s gruff, athletic, no nonsense Frank Farmer, the eponymous bodyguard.

Amidst humorous banter and asides, we see the mixed emotions emerging in juggling stardom with family. I empathise with sister Nicki (Emily-Mae) and Rachel’s son Fletcher, ably played by Sam Stephens, who is delightful. Shallow publicist Sy Spector (James Groom) is suitably irritating. Worried manager, Bill Devaney (John Macaulay) and inept security guy Tony (Graham Elwell) complete Rachel’s team. Frank’s contact in the CIA, Ray Court, (Phil Atkinson) ads gravitas to the situation whilst building a chilling portrait of the Stalker (Marios Nicolaides) shocking, sinister becoming ever more threatening, sending shivers of terror seeping through the production.

It is, of course, the familiar and much loved score that is the crowning glory if this high energy spectacular.  Melody Thornton more than does it justice. Her powerful range both punches out the crescendos and croons the quiet, nuanced numbers. Each song dazzles and sparkles rivalling the sequins adorning the costumes Rachel/Melody speedily shimmies into. Backed by a stellar team of award winning creatives, the show is a triumph. I doubt I am alone in struggling to behave and not sing along. My feet are definitely wanting to dance with somebody!

The Company: James-Lee Harris, Alexandros Beshonges, Kayne Gordon, Jack Hardwick, Kalisha Johnson, Liam Morris, Kellie Rhianne, Charlotte Scally, Emma Jane Smith, Yiota Theo, Marco Venturini

Book: Alexander Dinelaris; Orchestrations & Additional Music: Chris Egan; Lighting Designer: Mark Henderson; Sound Designer: Richard Brooker; Video Designer: Duncan Mclean.


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