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Review: Bodyguard at The Palace Theatre is “gripping from start to finish and full of classics songs”

The Bodyguard is being welcomed back to Manchester this week, with a star-studded cast and unforgettable soundtrack. 

Starring Melody Thornton as celebrity and singer Rachel Marron, and Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer, her bodyguard, The Bodyguard is an emotional rollercoaster of a romance.

The story is based on the 1992 film of the same title and follows the pair as Frank is set out to protect Rachel at all costs while trying not to fall in love unexpectedly.

Melody is no stranger to the limelight, with plenty of experience playing and being a star in her own right.

Kickstarting her career as a member of the Pussycat Dolls, she has gone on to compete in ITV’s Dancing On Ice, Celebs Go Dating and Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls before landing the leading role in the hit musical The Bodyguard.

Her co-star Ayden has had his fair share of fame too, playing Miles De Souza in Emmerdale, and fan favourite Joe Roscoe on the Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks.

The show kicks off with Melody showing off her performance skills, she embodies the performer that Rachel Marron is, putting her own spin on the Whitney Houston classic Queen of the Night.

The temperature in the room rises by 100 degrees as she bursts onto the stage, surrounded by toned shirtless men and with flames erupting from the floor.

Just like any popstar of today, she is confident, covered in sparkles and not only singing her heart out but dancing on a moving platform surrounded by pyrotechnics, Melody really can do it all.

The story isn’t all about the singer though, while told from her perspective, a lot is going on behind the scenes.

While the unsuspecting Rachel is singing her heart out on stage, her entourage is struggling to hide the truth from her.

She’s got a stalker. While crazy fans are nothing out of the ordinary, Marios Nicholaides who plays the creepy super-fan is one to look out for.

After receiving death threats, Frank Farmer, a former Secret Service Agent is sent to protect her, and her ten-year-old son, Fletcher.

The young actor who plays Fletcher, Kaylenn Aires Fonseca, pulls at your heartstrings from the moment he drives his toy car onto the stage.

Kaylenn carries himself like a true professional, as Rachel’s son, he gets involved during one of her rehearsals, breakdancing on stage alongside the backup dancers for his mother’s show and singing along to one of her hits.

Then as his mother’s relationship with Frank develops, so does the one between Fletcher and Frank, as he looks up to him as a father figure.

While there are many intensely gripping scenes, some even make you jump out of your seat. James Groom as Sy Spector, Rachel’s music producer provides light relief during these tense scenes, he is angry yet comedic, with his sarcastic tone of voice.

His bleach-blonde hair and light-coloured suits contrast with the dark themes of the scene.

His over-the-top reactions, tongue-in-cheek remarks and pushy American salesman vibe make the audience warm to him. Similarly, Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sister, played by Emily-Mae is a soft, lovable character.

While her sister gets all the fame, Nicki’s singing and songwriting talents often get looked over, and when Frank shows an interest in her, she doesn’t see that he is only trying to protect her and do his duties.

The scenes with Nicki and Rachel show the caring side of the sisters, the showbiz fades away while they sing Jesus Loves Me to Fletcher, and you get a glimpse of their real family life behind the scenes before the drama begins to unfold.

The stage lighting and the way the songs fit perfectly into every scene make you feel like you’re watching a pop star belt out their top hits on an arena stage.

Then with a simple curtain drop and the lights dimming, you’re now watching a struggling artist deal with falling in love, loss and worries that come with fame and raising a child alone.

Alongside the gripping drama, the show features a whole host of iconic classics by Whitney Houston including Queen of the Night, So Emotional, One Moment in Time, Saving All My Love, Run to You, I Have Nothing, Greatest Love Of All, and of course, I Will Always Love You.

However, you are politely asked to save your singing voices and dancing feet until the encore, allowing everyone to enjoy the incredible talents of the performers on stage, before being encouraged to join in at the end for I Wanna Dance With Somebody.

Running from Monday the 3rd of April to the 15th at the Palace Theatre, Manchester.

Melody Thornton will perform the Rachel Marron role at evening performances only.

You can get tickets here.

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