IT’S a rare occasion when any entertainment involving pop music asks the audience to resist the temptation to sing along with every song they recognise – but that was the request to the excited audience who gathered in the Bristol Hippodrome to watch The Bodyguard.
The reason was that, left to their own devices, this over-excited audience full of Whitney Houston fans would have taken over proceedings leaving the cast and musicians fighting a loosing battle to dominate the musical content of the show. As for the story, which is a bit thin to begin with, that would have almost disappeared from sight.
Fortunately they took the hint and settled down to enjoy an evening which was a delight for any Whitney fan, with one-time Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton leading the way. As international star singer and actress Rachel Marron, Melody had a chance to go through a raft of 1980s pop classics and, with aid of MD Sam Hall and the orchestra, she showed great vocal subtlety as she demonstrated a wide vocal range. There was never a question of belting out every number regardless of its content, with the result that when she arrived at the world’s most popular female record song, (more than 20,000,000 records sold), I Will Always Love You, it really was a true musical climax.
Not far behind it for popularity on the night came the duet Run to You, with Emily-Mae playing Rachel’s sister Nicki. Emily-Mae also scored heavily with her solo Saving all My Love.
While the ladies were making hay with all the vocal goodies at their disposal, Ayden Callaghan had to be content with one deliberately poorly sung chorus, to help him establish the important character of The Bodyguard, Frank Farmer. For all that he was mainly in the background throughout, Ayden still established a strong character.
As is customary nowadays, four young actors share the role of Rachael’s son Fletcher. Gone are the days when a 12-year-old Dennis Waterman played the lisping Winthrop at every Hippodrome performance of The Music Man. Judging from the scene-stealing ability shown on opening night whether it be Ryo Appadu, Kaylen Luke, Manasseh Mapira or Sam Stephens who plays Fletcher, the adults will have to look to their laurels when they share the stage with one of the youngsters.
When the audience was finally let loose to join in I Wanna Dance With Somebody, they showed what a threat they might have been to those on stage as they took over the auditorium with their uninhibited song and dance.
You can catch up with this production between 21st and 26th August at the Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham, and in Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre from 30th October to 4th November.