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The Bodyguard, Bournemouth Pavilion – Theatre Review

The Bodyguard Opening Night at Bournemouth Pavilion

I was lucky enough to be given press tickets for the opening night of The Bodyguard- The Musical at Bournemouth Pavilion on Monday 7 August. And wow, what a fantastic start to the week.

The show really kicks things off with a bang (so if you don’t want to sit for two hours with a wet lap, put down your drinks). For those of you who have seen the 1992 movie, you can probably guess what part I’m referring to when I say ‘bang’. And if you haven’t, here’s a little synopsis to get you up to speed.

Former Secret Service agent turned bodyguard, Frank Farmer (Ayden Callaghan), is hired to protect multi award-winning R&B superstar Rachel Marron (Zoe Birkett) from an unknown, creepy stalker (Marios Nicolaides). Rachel doesn’t want a bodyguard to tie her down, but when the stalker ups his game, she soon changes her mind, and as the pair spend more time together, they fall in love.

The Bodyguard’s opening number Queen of the Night sets the tone for the whole show – slick, sassy and filled with sequins. But it’s emotional too – so make sure you pack some tissues.

Zoe Birkett is absolutely phenomenal as Rachel Marron. Her energy, compassion and powerhouse of a voice really took my breath away. There were multiple points throughout where she gave me goosebumps. If Whitney was watching from above, she’d be seriously proud of her soul sister. And Ayden Callaghan as the cool, calm and collected Frank Farmer, a role made famous by Kevin Costner in the hit movie, was equally impressive, showing that bodyguards aren’t robots, but have a vulnerable side too.

The musical weaves in Whitney Houston’s multitude of hits effortlessly – How Will I Know, One Moment In Time, Saving All My Love and I’m Every Woman to name a few. In fact, I’d forgotten how many brilliant songs the one and only Whitney had. You won’t be able to stop yourself from singing (or in my case miming) and tapping your feet to all the songs.

Birkett’s rendition of I Will Always Love You was flawless. She hit every note with absolute ease and precision. And Emily-Mae as Nicki Marron, who lives in the shadow of her famous sister, played her part perfectly, with an equally outstanding voice.

We were treated to one final rendition of I Wanna Dance With Somebody after the curtain-call and it didn’t disappoint. Everyone in the audience was up on their fleet clapping and whooping. And we left dancing down the aisles too.

The Bodyguard - The Musical, Bournemouth Pavilion
The Bodyguard – The Musical, opening night

The standing ovation at the end of the performance really said it all. The Bodyguard was absolutely brilliant and I’d recommend the show to anyone. It’s ‘One Moment in Time’ I will never forget.

Bournemouth Pavilion is one of only five venues where you can see Zoe Birkett as Rachel Marron. And believe me when I say, you don’t want to miss out. The Bodyguard is on at the Pavilion until Saturday 12 August 2023, so book your tickets now. And if you can’t make it before Saturday, you can still catch Birkett in Newcastle (15-19 August), Cheltenham (21-26 August) and Norwich (28 August-2 September).

As part of my review, I was also invited to the recently opened Elevate Brassiere & Bar at Bournemouth International Centre. With stunning views of Bournemouth seafront, classy interior and delicious menu, it’s definitely worth a visit.

Elevate Brassiere & Bar, Bournemouth International Centre
Elevate Brasserie & Bar, Bournemouth International Centre

Note: To review the show I was given complimentary tickets. But my review is completely impartial, and all words are my own.

Food, Reviews

COSMO All You Can Eat Restaurant, Bournemouth – Review

Cosmo All You Can Eat Restaurant Bournemouth

My husband and I were long overdue a date night, so when COSMO invited me to join them for dinner, it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Situated right in the heart of Bournemouth town centre, COSMO offers an all you can eat buffet experience from cuisines across the globe. With more than 150 freshly prepared dishes, you certainly won’t go hungry. I entered COSMO with a rumbling tummy, and left having to undo the button on my skinny jeans. TOP TIP: Do not wear tight clothing, it’s a waste of good food. A loose fitting dress, leggings or comfy jeans will be my outfit of choice for my next visit!

We dined at 7pm and it was extremely busy when we arrived. I was a bit nervous as to what this would mean for our dining experience… Would it be too noisy? Would we have to wait ages for food? Would the food be warm? But I needn’t had worried. We were sat in a cosy side booth, and the atmosphere was buzzing. I really liked the décor too – chic, modern and most importantly clean. The staff did a fantastic job of clearing away plates and keeping the food areas tidy, with hand sanitisers at each of the food stations. To avoid the family rush, I would recommend going a little later, say 8pm.

Even the most fussy of eaters will find something to suit their tastes. Italian, Asian, Japanese, British, French – COSMO offers an eclectic range of dishes. I went straight for my favourite – crispy duck pancakes. To my disappointment the tray was empty when I got there, but a chef quickly brought out a fresh one, and it was worth the very short wait. I also tucked into chicken gyozas, dim sum and spring rolls – all delicious. My next course was some of my favourite Chinese dishes: sweet and sour chicken, Thai fried rice, mushrooms with oyster sauce and chow mein, all of which were extremely tasty. My husband chose Indian and feasted on chicken tikka, chicken korma, onion bhajis and katsu chicken, which he extremely enjoyed. There’s an teppanyaki section too, where chefs cook fresh prawns, beef, and steak right in front of you. My husband had the steak and said it was cooked just how he liked it.

Now I am a huge dessert fan. So much so that whenever we go out to dinner I always read the dessert menu first. Having overindulged at Easter, I convinced myself I would go easy on the desserts. But as soon as I laid eyes on the chocolate fountain, the chocoholic in me could not say no. I turned into a child, soft serve ice-cream with spoonfuls of swiss milk chocolate from the fountain. (I did resist the marshmallows to add on top). The chocolate was so smooth and utterly delicious. I also sampled a selection of cheesecakes and cakes. My husband had the churros, which he said were very tasty.

I had a glass of wine with my meal – there were only two whites to choose from, which in hindsight is probably a good thing when you have so much food to choose from. They have classic cocktails, beers and ales on offer too.

If you like a more relaxed dining experience and being waited on, COSMO probably isn’t for you. But we had a lovely evening and will definitely return. And for £20.99 (Friday-Sunday), COSMO really is great value for money. If you dine Monday-Thursday it’s only £18.99. I recommend booking in advance to make sure you get a table, but they do accept walk-ins. You can book directly via their website.


Review – Oi Frog & Friends at Lighthouse Theatre, Poole

My husband, three-year-old and I were invited to see the live stage production of Oi Frog & Friends this morning (Saturday 26 February) at Lighthouse, Poole, and if I had to sum it up in just three words they would be: zany, fun and delightful.

Based on the bestselling books by Kes Gray and Jim Field, which my son absolutely loves, the stage adaptation takes place at The Sittingbottom School for Animals. Frog, a creative rebel, is looking for a place to sit, but the sardonic rule-keeper Cat has other ideas and Dog (the go-between) is happy to play along. Little do they know that chaos is coming – Frog is about to steal Cat’s rule book and change who is allowed to sit where. No longer will “Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, mules sit on stools, gophers sit on sofas and frogs sit on logs.” But, ‘Dogs will sit on logs, cats will sit on gnats, mice will sit on ice, and poor whales, will sit on nails!’ Needless to say, Frog gets a little bit carried away…

Oi Frog & Friends is action-packed – loaded with original songs, puppets, laughs, silliness (my son loved the toilet humour), and of course, more rhyme that you can shake a chime at! The staging and costumes are brilliant too. And I loved the addition of the digital chalkboard that included loads of great illustrations from the much-loved children’s books.

My son was entertained throughout the 60 minute stage-show. Laughing, smiling and clapping with the biggest smile on his face throughout. What’s great is that they involve the audience too. Asking everyone to guess the animal rhymes and sing along to the songs. If you can, try and arrive a bit early. The cast come into the audience and ask the children their names and if they can think of a rhyming word of what they could sit on. My son Jack, sits on sacks for example. And the girl sat next to us, Jane, sits on planes. Spoiler alert: they read them all out at the end of the show, much to the delight of the young members of the audience as they recognise their name.

Oi Frog & Friends will remind you of The Muppet Show – using vibrant costumes, songs and silliness to inform their storytelling. And it works. Every child sat with us at Lighthouse, Poole had the most wonderful time, evident from the huge round of applause and cheering at the end of this morning’s production. It’s no wonder it’s been nominated for awards. I hope the cast and crew fill a whole trophy cabinet for the happiness they brought my little boy today!

If you can, go and see Oi Frog & Friends – it’s of course intended for children (of all ages), but adults, you’ll love it too! It ends its run at Poole Lighthouse on Sunday 27 February, but then moves on to other towns and cities throughout the UK from March to June including Croydon, Exeter, York, Taunton, Cardiff, Coventry, Birmingham and Glasgow. You can view all dates and venues for the tour on Oi Frog & Friends website.

My son’s review as we left the theatre: “I loved Oi Frog. It was such good fun.” And I’m sure he’ll be telling all his friends the same when he sees them too.