Brett Herriot Review

The Bodyguard, the Edinburgh Playhouse Review:

a worthy production!”

**** 4 Stars

Whitney Houston’s 1992 mega hit film “The Bodyguard” originally came to the stage in London’s west end at the Adelphi Theatre in 2012. Staying faithfully to the films story line but packing in 16 Houston hits, the show became a smash success spawning productions and tours around the world.

A retooled production now embarks on its third UK tour and calls at the playhouse for a weeks run. Telling the story of pop superstar Rachel Marron (Pussy Cat Doll Melody Thornton) who is receiving regular threats from a crazed stalker (Marios Nicolaides) forcing her manager to bring in acclaimed Bodyguard Frank Famer (Ayden Callaghan) what follows is a cat a mouse chase that complicated by the client falling in love with her Bodyguard. All this plus Whitney’s greatest hits makes for a crowd pleasing evening of musical theatre.

On the whole this is a fun and at time gripping production with an excellent ensemble cast delivering all that’s asked of them especially the ensemble who shines in Karen Bruce’s stylish Choreography. Melody Thornton is an excellent Rachel Marron and gets under the skin of the character and the same is true of Callaghan’s “Famer” although it has to be said the acting sequences are more soap opera than west end stage and it’s not where it should be and it’s a level that remains throughout the show.

Vocal wise Thorton is stunning as her voice hits the high notes that reverberate round the Playhouse.  She is matched note for note by a sublime performance from Emily-Mae as Nicki Marron she transcends the show with real star quality and a knock out vocal performance.

Tim Hatley’s set design really works giving it a filmatic feel however the set is simply dwarfed on the Playhouse stage and while all shows have to fit the smallest venues on their tour this particular set feels so small that if you’re sitting to the sides of the Playhouses auditorium you might have some sight line problems. The set is enhanced with Duncan McLean’s enrapturing video design and an eye melting at moments Lighting design from Mark Henderson. It runs the gaumet from mountain cabin at dusk to full out pop concert spectacular its quite a spectacle. Richard Brooker’s sound design is clearly up to the job with some musical numbers verging on the deafening side.  It does however show just how good Musical Director Sam Hall and his six strong band actually are at delivering some of the greatest pop songs every produced.

Director Thea Sharrock has truly delivered a refreshed take on a modern classic that does grip the audience with its stylish thriller sense and as all great shows do the audience get there moment at the Curtain Call to get up and boogie to a greatest hits medley. It just a shame and a sign of the times that pre show announcements are made to confirm this is musical theatre and not a sing a long show.

This truly is a worthy production of the show, even with hammy acting and delivers true bang for the ticket price so you want go for wrong by grabbing a ticket and finding out if Rachel really will always lover her Bodyguard!

The Bodyguard. The Edinburgh Runs until Saturday 25th February 2023 for tickets go to: The Bodyguard Tickets | Edinburgh Playhouse in Edinburgh | ATG Tickets


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