Skip to main content

26th March 2023

Palace Theatre Manchester hires a bodyguard (and a Pussycat Doll)

The Bodyguard visits Palace Theatre Manchester as part of its third UK tour, starring Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton
Palace Theatre Manchester hires a bodyguard (and a Pussycat Doll)
Photo: The Bodyguard

The Bodyguard is one of the most famous movies of all time, with its Whitney Houston-led soundtrack being the best-selling album by any woman ever. With such a stellar score, it was inevitable that the film would be adapted to the stage. It premiered on the West End over a decade ago and is now on its third UK tour.

The musical uses all of the songs from the movie as well as other famous Whitney Houston songs, rendering the show a jukebox musical. The show even offers a rendition of Dolly Parton’s original country version of ‘I Will Always Love You’.

The plot follows pop superstar Rachel Marron, who is under threat from an unknown stalker. Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer, is hired to protect her. Each expects to be in charge – what they don’t expect is to fall in love.

Whilst Whitney Houston is in a league of her own, several singing sensations have taken on the iconic role of Rachel Marron. Heather Headley originated the role in the West End and was replaced by Beverley Knight MBE, who was later replaced by Alexandra Burke. Burke led the first two UK tours, with Zoe Birkett playing the role at matinées in the first half of the first tour. Knight led the West End revival.

But there’s a new star in town… Pussycat Doll Melody Thornton is ready to take centre-stage!

I reviewed the musical during its last UK tour, and whilst I thoroughly enjoyed it, I did not plan on seeing it again – until it was announced that Thornton is stepping into the lead role. I previously saw Thornton it Rip It Up The 70s, and I caught her rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ at the National Lottery’s Big Night of Musicals.

People are often surprised by Thornton’s vocal excellence, for she hardly got to sing in the Pussycat Dolls, but she has proven herself time and time again, from Popstar to Operastar to The Masker Singer Australia (which she won).

The title character, meanwhile, will be played by soap star Ayden Callaghan (Emmerdale, Hollyoaks).

So, come on down to Palace Theatre Manchester and dance with somebody!


The Bodyguard runs at Palace Theatre Manchester from April 3 to 15 and tours the UK until December 30. Thornton and Callaghan are with the musical until its stint at Bristol Hippodrome (July 17 to 22), with further casting to be announced. Thornton is scheduled to appear at all evening performances only.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

More Coverage

42 Balloons review: An inspiring musical about dreams, sacrifices and a lawn chair

Charlie McCullagh’s and Evelyn Hoskins’ elevated chemistry blew us away

Urinetown: The Musical review – UMMTS doesn’t piss about

UMMTS once again fails to disappoint. Urinetown, despite its name, is a delight (GASP!)

Hedda review: A misguided imitation of Ibsen’s masterpiece

Contact hosts Here to There Productions’ for a version of Hedda Gabler that is almost as painful as a genuine gunshot wound

My Beautiful Laundrette review: Nationalism, racial tensions, and political turmoil

Lacking a fresh political perspective, entertaining with classic tunes and compelling design, My Beautiful Laundrette takes stage at The Lowry