REVIEW - Plenty of strong points in The Bodyguard at Wolverhampton Grand - The Bromsgrove Standard

REVIEW - Plenty of strong points in The Bodyguard at Wolverhampton Grand

Bromsgrove Editorial 11th May, 2023   0

THIS IS the first time I have seen the stage musical of ‘The Bodyguard’ since Covid when the tour came to an abrupt end.

It starred Alexandra Burke back in the role that launched her stage career in 2014.

This latest tour has Melody Thornton in the role of Rachel Moran as the superstar in need of a bodyguard. It’s a performance that grew as the night went on. The opening was spoiled due to poor sound balancing. The knock-on effect was everything seeming a little lackluster.

It got better during act one and after the interval in which the company had no doubt been given a Ted Lasso team talk it was firing on all cylinders. This of course is the magic and joy of live theatre – every performance is unique.

The book is a very clever adaptation by Alexander Dinelaris of Lawrence Kasdan’s original screenplay for the 1992 movie, starring the late great Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner.

Kasdan also wrote screenplays for ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and ‘Raiders Of The Lost Ark’ and is known for writing challenging special effects moments. Dinelaris has carried this into the stage show with a multitude of effects from the first moment when a gunshot reverberates around the auditorium demanding attention.




The set moves in and out and up and down, with fire, smoke and lighting effects to grace the biggest rock concert arena. There are film effects on a giant gauze and settings that move from Beverly Hills mansions to the Oscars by way recording studios, log cabins, karaoke bars and more – all effected smoothly and in the blink of an eye.

Thornton is well-supported by Ayden Callagan as the bodyguard himself, Frank Farmer. Lewis looks and moves like someone you’d really want in your corner if the chips were down.


Graham Elwell makes a fine job of security man, Tony Scibelli, Emily-Mae is outstanding as the Diva’s PA and sister Nicki Marron.

Marios Nicolaides is a spine-chilling stalker and young Kaylenn Aires Ponseca was totally captivating in the part of Rachel’s son Fletcher.

The production is directed faithfully by Mark Hedges and the superbly tight orchestra is under the baton of its keyboard playing MD, Sam Hall.

The score offers up some terrific numbers including such classics as ‘Greatest Love Of All’, I’m Every Woman’, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and of course the legend that is ‘I Will Always Love You’. The audience thankfully did not join in until when invited to do so in the walkdown.

This is a big, bold, brash show that broke new ground in stage effects when it first launched – it may seem a little formulated now but packed houses and standing ovations are testimony to its popularity.

Tickets for the rest of the run are like gold apparently – my suggestion is to go prospecting for them.

The Bodyguard runs at the Wolverhampton Grand until Saturday, May 13. Click here for times, tickets and more information.

 

****

Review by Euan Rose.

Euan Rose Reviews.

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