MusicalNorth East & YorkshireReview

The Bodyguard – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Based on the screenplay by Lawrence Kasdan

Book: Alexander Dinelaris

Director: Thea Sharrock and Frank Thompson

Hit musicalThe Bodyguard, based on the film of the same name starring Whitney Houston, is back out on tour and this week plays at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield. It centres around music megastar Rachel Marron who finds herself being stalked. In comes Frank Farmer, one of the best bodyguards around, who works hard to protect her but begins to find that romance can start to complicate things.

Alexander Dinelaris’ book has been brought to life by Thea Sharrock and Frank Thompson in a well-paced production. It moves quickly whilst giving plenty of space for the relationships between characters to develop. The choreography by Karen Bruce and Frank Thompson is energetic and executed brilliantly by a talented ensemble. However the material, as well as the performances, manages to make this musical shine in both the big production numbers as well as the more intimate ballads. Tim Hatley’s set design helps the show move slickly from scene to scene, although it was sad to see it had been simplified a little from previous tours. Hatley’s costumes are great – lots of colour and no expenses have really been spared there – Rachel Marron rarely appears in the same outfit more than once!

Australian pop singer Emily Williams takes on the role of Rachel Marron having previously played in the role in Australia. She is a brilliant vocalist, doing more than justice to the huge number of songs made famous by Whitney Houston. Whilst she may not have a wealth of acting experience, she has a beautiful chemistry with Ryo Appadu as Fletcher, Rachel’s son, and she potrays the flourishing romance with Ayden Callaghan as Frank Farmer really well. Callaghan is just wonderful as Frank Farmer. He brings a depth and vulnerability to the role where it is required, which hasn’t been seen too much in the show’s previous interpretations of the role. He has a nice singing voice and one hopes he gets to sing properly in a future show.

Emily-Mae gives a phenomenal performance as Nicki Marron, Rachel’s sister. Her vocals are sublime – her renditions of many songs are emotionally stirring as she acts every song rather than just sings it. Marios Nicolaides is perfectly terrifying yet handsome as The Stalker, whilst Graham Elwell has the authority on stage he requires as security man Tony.

The Bodyguardis packed full of beloved songs including How Will I Know, I’m Every Woman, Run To You, I Wanna Dance With Somebody and, of course, I Will Always Love You. This makes it a fun night out, despite the production being a little slimmed down than previous iterations.

Runs until Saturday 14th October 2023, before continuing on tour.

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Jacob Bush. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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