By: Dulcie Harrison, TRP Reviewer
Another hit musical opens with a bang (literally) to our main stage here at the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and it delivers everything you think it will and more! Based on the 1992 film starring the late, great, Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, The Bodyguard is full of show-stopping hits belted out impressively by platinum success superstar Melody Thornton, playing Rachel Marron.
The supporting cast are supercharged and simply excellent with eye-catching, extravagant choreography. A relatively intimate cast, yet they effortlessly fill the stage with vibrancy and energy. The opening number was electrifying as we first see Rachel Marron burst into “Queen Of The Night” and the stage lit up in full concert effect – Thornton displays the perfect powerful vocal quality that allows her to carry the majority of the musical performance
throughout the show going forward.
The contrast when we are introduced to Rachel Marron’s stalker (played by Marios Nicolaides) is sinisterly clever as it takes the audience on a rollercoaster of gripping emotion as the tension heavily builds with the scheming and plotting of her obsessed follower. I felt as though I was on the edge of my seat every time the shift in atmosphere made you anticipate what could possibly happen next.
In comes Former Emmerdale and Hollyoaks star, Ayden Callaghan, who provides solid support as the handsome, serious, and stern bodyguard, Frank Farmer, who initially is reluctant to work with a high profile celebrity such as Marron. As the pair try to find some middle ground to be able to work with and tolerate one another, they begin to uncover a passionate attraction to each other which slowly builds with each passing moment. The delicacy with which Callaghan and Thornton explore this slow burning onstage chemistry and relationship was so heart-warming to feel radiating from the stage.
Rachel’s sister, Nicki, played by Emily-Mae added an interesting love triangle aspect to the already thrilling show and topped with an emotional and powerful performance and her impeccable vocals make for a strong performance throughout the show. She provides a heartrending performance of “Saving All My Love For You” and joins Thornton for a powerhouse duet on “Run To You” which had most of the audience in tears as their angelic vocals complimented one another beautifully and filled the auditorium with a simply captivating moment on stage.
Right from the moment the lights go down, The Bodyguard erupts onto the stage with incredible presence (and fire) hitting you with the amazing Whitney songs we all know and love woven in with scenes of high intensity and drama. Director Thea Sharrock accompanied by a talented design team- Tim Hatley, Mark Henderson, Duncan McLean and Richard Brooker certainly put on a show, from pillars of flames erupting from the front of the stage to expansive projections and mood changing lighting makes for a truly Hollywood style performance!