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  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: THE BODYGUARD @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH

🎭 The Bodyguard

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Monday 26th June 2023

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

A SEXY AND POWERFUL SHOW


Last night I was at the Theatre Royal Plymouth for my 80th theatre trip of the year and wow, what a performance it was! The Bodyguard has to be my absolute favourite musical of 2023. It’s no secret that I love a jukebox musical, but there’s always a danger of it just being an excuse to perform some well-known songs, but this is definitely not the case with The Bodyguard.


Based on the 1992 movie of the same name and filled with the biggest hits from Whitney Houston, the show follows the story of international superstar singer Rachel Marron as she is being plagued by a stalker. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect her and her family from the unhinged but calculated and cautious stalker.


Melody Thornton is a superstar as Marron. She easily lives up to the status of her character and is mesmerising to watch. When she opens the show with a high-octane performance of Queen of the Night, it’s like you’re at a concert at the O2 and she instantly impresses with her sensational vocals. She delivers quiet ballads with utter purity and then gives such power to other songs that she blows the roof off the theatre! Songs such as Greatest Love of All are beautifully understated while she demands attention with powerful performances of songs such as I’m Every Woman.

Thornton’s vocals are the undeniable star of the show. She never tries to imitate Houston as she performs these huge numbers. Instead she puts her own stamp on them and brings her incredible personality and acting skills into her performance.

Emily-Mae also has stunning vocals as Nicki Marron. You can hear a pin drop in the auditorium as she performs Saving All My Love with sublime control. The female ensemble are also sensational as they dance, perform backing vocals and give a hilariously comic karaoke performance of Where Do Broken Hearts Go.


The male ensemble displayed real athleticism in their performance and certainly set a few pulses racing in the audience! They were sublime dancers and had some of the best synchronicity and skill I have witnessed for a long time. Karen Bruce’s choreography is bold and exciting and fits wonderfully within the production.


Taking on the role of Frank Farmer in this production is Ayden Callaghan who is dominating, sexy and sensitive. He is commanding in the role and completely makes it his own. His awkward performance of I Will Always Love You had the audience in fits of laughter!

Marios Nicolaides as The Stalker was sinister and intimidating. He sent chills through the auditorium every time he appears and he is captivating in an uneasy yet thrillingly seductive way!


There was not one weak link in the cast and the supporting roles played by James Groom, John Macaulay, Graham Elwell and Phil Atkinson felt just as important as the leads. At this performance the role of Rachel’s son Fletcher was played by Sam Stephens. Stephens is a charismatic young performer who was enchanting to watch. I loved when he was sat around the fireplace with his mum and aunt and they sang Jesus Loves Me in a truly heartwarming moment.


Regular readers of mine will know how much I like to analyse the technical aspects of a show and I have to say that The Bodyguard was technical perfection. Mark Henderson’s lighting design is faultless and inspired and blends wonderfully with the sound design by Richard Brooker.

There is a fantastic use of video design by Duncan McClean in this production. It is used creatively to add suspense around The Stalker and there was a glorious montage mid-song towards the end to facilitate a costume change which was just breathtaking.


The set and costumes designed by Tim Hatley were also sensational. Thornton’s performance costumes had all the glamour you’d expect and the set was incredible. At times it was wonderful in its simplicity and was well thought out and never felt cheap.

The show has one of the best finale’s I’ve ever witnessed and the entire audience was up on their feet singing and dancing to I Wanna Dance With Somebody and just living their best lives. I forgot I was in the theatre and it was like it was being at a Beyoncé concert, the atmosphere was so electric.

The Bodyguard has performances at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday 1st July. There is limited availability for all shows but my recommendation is to do whatever it takes to get yourself a ticket! As someone who sees a huge amount of theatre, especially musicals, I was taken aback by just how much I fell in love with this show. Head to www.theatreroyal.com to secure your tickets before it’s too late!

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest and free from influence.


My ticket for this performance was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to review the production. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in my star rating or the content of my review.

CAST LIST:

Melody Thornton as Rachel Marron; Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer; Emily-Mae as Nicki Marron; Marios Nicolaides as The Stalker; Sam Stephens as Fletcher; James Groom as Sy Spector; John Macaulay as Bill Devaney; Graham Elwell as Tony Scibelli; Phil Atkinson as Ray Court

Ensemble: Alexandros Beshonges; Kayne Gordoin; Jack Hardwick; Kalisha Johnson; Samantha Mbolekwa; Kellie Rhianne; Emma Jane Smith; Marco Venturini

RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours 30 minutes, including interval

CONTENT WARNINGS:

Loud gunshots; Violence; Murder; Sexual innuendo

AGE GUIDELINE:

14+


PLEASE NOTE:

Melody Thornton performs the role of Rachel Marron at evening performances only

The mission of Theatre Royal Plymouth is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country.

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