The Bodyguard ★★★★ New Wimbledon Theatre | March 6 - 11, 2023

Take some unforgettable songs and some great performances and wrap them in a paper thin thriller plot: you've got The Bodyguard. If you are a Whitney Houston fan, you are in for a treat. This version delivers exactly what you'd expect and Melody Thornton does a superb job of interpreting all the great hits. Thornton almost never leaves the stage, and she carries the show with her amazing vocals. The narrative of a megastar threatened by an unbalanced fan and forced to hire a bodyguard is totally predictable. There is an immediate clash of personalities, so no surprise about how all that is going to end. The audience is here because they know and love these songs, and they are equally comfortable with a retelling of the standard romcom story in a slightly different context. It is all satisfyingly familiar and very well done. Director, Thea Sharrock keeps it all moving at a great pace and the big production numbers are well staged. The choreography is wonderfully energetic and enthusiastic. Ayden Callaghan doesn't have much to do as the rigidly protective bodyguard, Frank, but his comic karaoke turn is fun. For us, the delight of the evening was Emily-Mae who plays the diva's sister, Nicki. She lit up the stage whenever she appeared, creating a believable character with song stylings that were touching and beautifully rendered. For a feel-good evening of theatre, you can't go wrong with a show that has songs like "I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Greatest Love of All," and "I Will Always Love You," all showcased in a first-rate production.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Paul Coltas.

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