The Bodyguard – Review – Leeds Grand Theatre

the bodyguard review leeds grand

By Christine Goode, June 2023

For more than 30 years The Bodyguard has been a firm favourite in my DVD collection; the romance, the soundtrack, that voice! The legendary Whitney Houston is a hard act to follow and to find a cast that can produce and deliver a musical that lives up to the film is a tall order, but the current theatre tour directed by Thea Sharrock does exactly that!

Starring Pussycat Doll and multi-platinum Grammy nominated Melody Thornton as Rachel Marron the show features a whole host of irresistible Whitney classics, including ‘Queen of the Night’, ‘So Emotional’, ‘One Moment in Time’, ‘Saving All My Love’, ‘Run to You’ and ‘I Have Nothing’. With such beloved songs it is hard for those who love them not to sing a long, however, we were respectfully asked to hold our enthusiasm until the end where we ‘could unleash our inner Whitney’ – and this we certainly did.

Here is a classic love story, where we meet Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan) a former secret service agent hired by the manager of R&B singing star Rachel Marron (Melody Thornton) to protect her from a stalker whose obsession has risen to the level of disturbing threats. Farmer is initially resented for his hardnosed tactics, but he soon and unexpectedly becomes romantically involved with his charge.

the bodyguard review leeds grand 2023

“Exciting, fast”

The show starts with a BANG! A big one! Once we have recovered from this, we are straight into the first number: Up tempo, fast, sexy, and starting as it means to go on, with fantastic energy, amazing lighting and costumes, it has the audience hooked from the start.

Thornton is a pocket rocket powerhouse with vocals to rival anyone and with a distinct and uncanny likeness to the great Whitney Houston. Her triple threat of acting, singing and dance skills work beautifully alongside her flamboyant characterisation of Rachel Marron, which neatly contrasts with Ayden Callaghan’s austere Frank Farmer.

Callaghan plays his character with charisma, charm and a hint of comedy in parts and certainly leaves the audience swooning. Nicki Marron (Emily –Mae) is remarkable; her vocal duets with Thornton impeccable. Sy Spector (James Groom) brings his bossy manager to life with equal amounts of comedy and exasperation. The choreography by Karen Bruce is exciting, fast and impressive, with some very difficult partner work and amazing lifts. The ensemble cast are also very strong with flawless routines and multiple dance tricks.

the bodyguard review leeds grand theatre


Lighting designer Mark Henderson creates a very effective set with inventive ideas to give a detailed spectacle for the viewer, along with video designer Duncan McClean, who adds a final flourish, offering a different feel to most stage musicals. Costumes by Tim Hatley are beautiful, sparkly and everything you would expect for a Diva and her entourage.

No doubt that the audience are captivated throughout – and finally at the end, we are encouraged to sing along, stand up and dance. There is no hesitation and we are on our feet joining in, with deafening applause at the end for an superb and uplifting show. As I leave the theatre, I can hear the voices of people inside, still singing…

The Bodyguard is at Leeds Grand Theatre until 17th June 2023
images: Paul Coltas


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