Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Based on the Warner Bros film
Screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan
Book by Alexander Dinelaris
Directed by Thea Sharrock
Having conquered London’s West End 10 years ago, Alexander Dinelaris’s production of The Bodyguard returns to the UK with a nationwide tour, arriving at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre and playing to a packed house on this, its fifth location on the road.
With a wonderfully hokum narrative hung around Whitney Houston’s most famous hits, it follows the story of fictional singer Rachel Marron who has recently hired a bodyguard following threats from a stalker. You can expect drama, romance, emotion and of course, Houston’s 80s and 90s classics we all know and love.
Six years on from playing the lead role on tour in China, Melody Thornton reprises her role as Rachel Marron, alongside Ayden Callaghan as bodyguard Frank Farmer. An incredibly demanding sing, Thornton delivers exceptional vocals throughout, particularly in the climactic One Moment in Time and finale I Will Always Love You, giving Whitney's recordings a run for their money! Callaghan’s performance was stoical, with hints of humour along the way, playing the role of dependable yet emotionless bodyguard very well.
Particular mention must go to Emily-Mae Walker playing the role of Marron’s sister, Nikki. Her vocals were breathtaking and effortless - a pleasure to listen to. Hers and Thornton’s duet of Run To You towards the end of act one captured the audience with its stunning harmonies. Walker and Thornton were joined by Iesa Miller, playing Rachel’s son, Fletcher, in a heart-warming trio rendition of Jesus Loves Me. Miller delivered an impressive performance for such a young age, with believable acting and fantastic vocals and dancing.
The first half's plot is sometimes slow, but act two picks up the pace, full of suspense with a few jump-scares resulting in screams and subsequent laughs from the audience. The whole performance is impressive, with pyrotechnics, brilliant ensemble choreography, a dazzling wardrobe and a couple of stand-out vocal powerhouses - it has something for everyone with the encore of I Wanna Dance With Somebody getting all of the audience on their feet to dance away with the cast.
Playing at the Churchill until Saturday 20th May and then touring until the end of the year, audiences will love this show that will certainly leave them wanting to dance with somebody!
Runs until 20th May and then tours
Reviewed by Sophie Kale