The Bodyguard - The Musical

Wolverhampton Grand


Megastar Rachel Marron is always going to love ex-secret service agent Frank, for ever it seems, and she tells us so in the iconic showstopper of a song that spent 10 weeks in the UK charts in 1992 - 14 weeks in the US Billboard hot 100.

And ex-Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton really gives the break up anthem I Will Always Love You some real goosebumps wellie to raise the roof of The Grand in a glorious finale to a super slick production.

The story follows the 1992 hit film with Thornton’s Marron being stalked by a sinister and dangerous psychopath, so her manager, Bill Devany, played by John Macauley, tries to recruit Frank Farmer, played by Emmerdale and Hollyoaks favourite Ayden Callaghan, as her bodyguard.

Frank is not just a bodyguard - when it comes to protecting clients he is the best. The only problem is . . . he doesn’t want the job, he doesn’t do showbiz celebs, but, reluctantly, agrees to take a look.

Thornton and Callaghan have an immediate rapport . . . of sorts, starting off with animosity with a capital A. Rachel resents this unknown, non-showbiz, arrogant . . . (any derogatory word you like)  telling her what to do or how to live her life.

While Frank sees her as a spoiled prima donna, a self-important pop diva who won’t take advice, does whatever she wants, and will be impossible to protect.  

Just to add to the less than friendly welcome for Frank, her head of security, Toby Scibelli, played by Graham Elwell, has his nose really put out of joint by the appearance of this so-called legendary pro who starts by showing the complete lack of security in force at Rachel’s mansion, which is of cours, Toby's responsobility,

Rachel and Frank are about as far from being friends, let alone an item as you can get, but the pair do a good job, slowly and gradually working their way through bodyguard and star, through trust and fear, to that most basic of elements of man and woman and, eventuall,y lovers – with a heart-breaking moment when Frenk realises loving her is compromising his ability to do his real job of protecting her.

rachel anthm

Melody Thornton as Rachel with the iconic anthem, I will always love you

Fussing around we have James Groom as Rachel’s pushy music producer Sy Spector and in the background, always in the background, we have Emily-Mae as Rachel’s sister Nicki, with Nicki rivaling her more famous sibling with a quite lovely voice.

Then there is Fletcher, played by Reno Kusi-Appauh, Rachel’s 10-year-old son who serves to add a little normality to his mother’s life, and who takes to Frank almost as a father figure – his real father never figuring.

And behind it all we have the stalker, played by Marios Nicolaides, who sends a chill through the audience without ever saying a word, scary enough to get roundly booed at the curtain call, which is the baddy equivalent of a standing ovation.

From risqué, burlesque style start, with shooting pillars of flame, to dramatic power ballad end, the musical goes through a clutch of Whitney Houston hits given full reign by Rachel and, to a lesser extent Nicki, with memorable performances of I Who Have Nothing, All The Man That I Need, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love and Run to You, with Thornton putting some real emotion into Houston’s power ballads culminating in that song.

There are some lovely touches, such as when Rachel sings her final farewell to Frank in jeans and leather jacket. The lights dim and a spot appears to reveal Rachel now in fill diva mode in a stunning, blue evening dress on a plinth that slowly raises her to the heavens with a light show around her, just a final example of some exceptional stagecraft.

There is clever use of curtains to cover half a stage with a second scene revealed behind as they are pulled back, all on a simple but effective set from Tim Hateley who gives us seedy nightclubs, a log cabin, a mansion, stage shows  and even the Oscars, all set off by Mark Henderson’s precision lighting which makes full use of the freedom and effect afforded by computer controlled LED lights. A magical job.

A musical is nothing without the music and this one sports an excellent six piece band under Musical Director Sam Hall on keyboards with sound well balanced by Richard Brooker.

There is also wonderful use of video (Duncan McLean) on a stage filling screen which adds to the story in what is a production which succeeds in everything it sets out to do and gives the audience what they have come to see.

The writer of the original 1992 film, Lawrence Kasdan, has written the script with a book by Alexander Dinelaris and, well directed by Thea Sharrock, Frank will be protecting Rachel to 13-05-23.

Roger Clarke


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