A string of power ballads, drama, passion and a stage full of sequins and abs, what’s not to love about The Bodyguard musical?

The show, which has returned to the stage more than a decade after it began life as a musical, opened with a literal bang which shook us out of our seats - a sign of what was to come. That and the flames for the opening Queen of the Night, our first introduction to our very own Queen of the night. 

Expect a rollercoaster of emotion throughout as the story of superstar Rachel Marron (ex Pussycat Dolls Melody Thornton) and her bodyguard Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) unfolds. I saw audience members moved to tears followed by laughter and shock as we strapped in for the ride and overheard a guy in the interval saying that he’d bought his wife tickets for her birthday but was enjoying it just as much, if not more than her. 

Former secret service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) seen listening to to superstar Rachel Marron (Melody Thornton) in The Bodyguard musical

Former secret service agent turned bodyguard Frank Farmer is hired to protect superstar Rachel Marron from an unknown stalker.

The production is impressive, the set changes seamless and the vocals outstanding, particularly after the cast had warmed up throughout the first act. At times it felt as if Melody was holding back somewhat, as if she was saving herself for the ballads to come which is understandable given how much she put into them. Her rendition of the classic Whitney number I Have Nothing just before the interval had me hooked, goosebumps, the lot. 

That only continued as the chemistry between Rachel and Frank played out and the threat from an unknown stalker increased. Yes there’s plenty of drama and tension but there’s also much-welcome humour, not least when the star and her bodyguard find themselves at a karaoke night; Ayden Callaghan’s take on Dolly Parton’s version of I Will Always Love You had us in stitches. It’s fair to say he should leave the (ahem) singing to the professionals. 

Melody Thornton as Rachel Marron singing in the UK and Ireland tour of The Bodyguard musical

Former Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton belted out number after number in the musical.

Just like Rachel and her bodyguard, we were in safe hands throughout. I mean, ex Pussycat Doll, multi-platinum Grammy nominated Melody Thornton - need I say more?

I do actually because I have to mention the incredibly talented Emily-Mae who played Rachel’s overlooked sister Nicki Marron. She’s an absolute powerhouse and I was left wanting more from her. Her and Melody’s performance of Run To You, showing the feelings both sisters had for the bodyguard, was outstanding. 

Melody’s rendition of the classic Whitney number I Have Nothing just before the interval had me hooked, goosebumps, the lot. 

I also loved James Groom’s character Sy Spector, Rachel’s very charismatic and animated publicist as well as her son Fletcher (played brilliantly by Kaylenn Aires Fonseca - there are three other Fletchers) who’s certainly a star in the making - his break-dance moves were brilliant. 

Staying pretty true to the film, what impressed me about the show was how well it flowed between non-musical scenes and the classic hits, not least One Moment of Time, Saving All My Love and I’m Every Woman. Each number reminding us how incredible the late Whitney Houston was and how much of a responsibility it is to even attempt her hits. Melody takes it in her stride - as does Emily-Mae with both women hitting all the notes throughout.

The Bodyguard musical cast performing on stage with Rachel Marron (Melody Thornton) in the centre.

The show features a host of irresistible classics such as One Moment in Time, Run to You and I Have Nothing.

We were on the edge of our seats when Rachel’s stalker finally plays out what he has been planning all along, gasps echoing across the theatre, and then emotions running high, came the ultimate I Will Always Love You performance with Melody delivering yet again. 

And don’t worry, while you’re asked not to sing throughout the performance (what happened in Manchester confirmed why with a performance being disrupted with audience members singing too loudly), there’s a chance at the end to get on your feet and sing your hearts out to the classic I Wanna Dance With Somebody which sees all the cast having a blast on stage. 

I’ve heard a lot about the escapism of theatre recently and The Bodyguard was just that - an evening of emotion, a feel-good atmosphere and outstanding vocals, just make sure you have some tissues and your dancing feet on for that finale. 

We saw The Bodyguard at Milton Keynes Theatre on Monday 29th May, 2023. The tour currently runs until January 2024. 

Group rates are venue specific with more information available at www.thebodyguardmusical.com

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