The international award-winning musical adapted from the smash hit film The Bodyguard has returned to Bradford – only this time there is a new cat in town. Melody Thornton from the Pussycat Dolls stars as the superstar singer Rachel Marron in this romantic and joyful musical with a plot that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat.
The film version starred the late Whitney Houston as Marron and Kevin Costner as her bodyguard Frank Farmer. Both are roles that take a lot of talent to fill – and Thornton, joined by ex-Emmerdale star Ayden Callaghan as Farmer, acquit themselves admirably.
Thornton, with her illustrious tenure in one of the most successful girl bands of the last twenty years, brings her lived experience to the role. She gives a resounding version of Queen of the Night in the opening sequence which leaves you wondering how such a powerful voice can come out of such a small and tender frame as hers.
A showcase for Whitney Houston’s stirring anthems
The songs weave themselves around the dialogue of the musical and what a catalogue of gems they are: So Emotional, One Moment in Time and of course I Will Always Love You, all performed with emotion and conviction by Thornton.
When a stalker breaks into Marron’s dressing room and leaves a sinister note while taking one of her stage dresses, bodyguard Frank Farmer is brought in to protect her. At first, there is conflict with the element of control Farmer has over the singer’s independence, though after saving her from a near-fatal shooting whilst Marron is performing, their frosty relationship develops into a romantic one.
Other emotions are dealt with such as jealousy from Marron’s sister Nicki – played with style and ease by Emily Mae. Her singing voice at times equally matches that of Thornton.
Special mention too for Reneo Kusi-Appauh who plays Marron’s ten-year-old son Fletcher with a youthful charm. His rapport with Callaghan’s bodyguard, Farmer, is natural and innocent. The chemistry between Thornton and Callaghan feels like it is starting to gel – this production has only been running since late January so it is early days yet – but there is a spark between them that will develop as the show continues to tour.
As the stalker, Marios Nicolaides was both convincing and compelling – his moves at times might seem contrived but he still has that brooding air of menace about him.
A joyful celebration of a classic movie and a first-class artist
As the audience stood on their feet for a resounding version of I Wanna Dance With Somebody at the finale it had been hard not to enjoy this superb musical. The elation and joy emanating from the Alhambra stage, was a captivating invitation to dance all your cares away. First class all the way.
Runs until Saturday, 11 February 2023