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GHOST - THE MUSICAL

Ended 18 Aug 2012 after 5 months

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Richard Fleeshman, Caissie Levy, Bryce Pinkham & Da'Vine Joy Randolph to Star in Ghost the Musical.

Closed 18 Aug 2012

Our London Review

Great night out: for romantic numbers and tearjerking moments

Morning after effect: checking furtively over your shoulder,  just in case that coffee mug really did move by itself

Recommend to friends? For die-hard Ghost fans

Best bits: Oda Mae Brown’s scenes with Sam

Interesting factoid: Poignantly, it was at this very same theatre in 2006 that Patrick Swayze performed in Guys and Dolls as Nathan Detroit.

With Grammy award-winning Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard at the musical helm, there has been great expectation of Ghost: The Musical, since moving  from Manchester to London amidst rave reviews.

Richard Fleeshman, best known for playing tortured teen Craig Harris in Coronation Street and later Warner in Legally Blonde: The Musical in 2010, fills the rather large shoes left behind by Patrick Swayze as Sam Wheat, the protagonist of the story. Canadian Broadway actress Caissie Levy claims the role Molly Jensen as her own, complete with a mane of blonde curls replacing Demi Moore’s distinctive pixie crop.

Still in previews, the show is a faithful by-the-numbers adaptation of the film, brought up to date for the 21st century, complete with Euro signs and a digital camera. Whilst Sam and Molly’s affection for each other was slightly sickly at the beginning, it did provide a painful foreshadowing for what was to come. Fleeshman’s Sam turned from twinkly, cheeky and carefree into sustained panic for the majority of the show. The songs were competently delivered by the two main stars, even if Molly’s songs seemed  all very similar - well, the girl was mourning for the love of her life, after all.

“Ball of Wax”, a flinch-inducing tap-dancing number by a group of ghosts in the hospital following Sam’s death was clearly an attempt at comic relief. Unfortunately it was jarring and out of place following the tragedy and for the show as a whole.

The ensemble cast, although talented in voice, lacked a little in choreographic direction, and for the most part, distracted from the main action at the front of the stage with jarring, robotic movement that were not in keeping with the show’s tunes.

The star of the show was undoubtably Sharon D Clarke as ‘spiritualist’ Oda Mae Brown. A stage and screen veteran with the likes of The Lion King, Chicago and Hairspray under her belt, she tackled the role of the sassy conwoman with gusto, and although delivering lines lifted straight from the film, she makes a firm distinction from Whoopi Goldberg’s portrayal. Her verbal sparring with Sam easily stood out for me as the most enjoyable parts of the show.

Andrew Langtree’s Carl was an affable, likeable character for the first part of the performance, making his ultimate betrayal all the worse. Whilst vocally not suited to a singing role, his descent into murderous deviousness and finally hysterical banshee by the end was unsettling. Langtree refreshingly portrayed Carl more as a victim of his own greed as he is caught up in the runaway consequences of his actions, vastly differing from Tony Goldwyn’s dastardly traitor in the film.

The legendary pottery wheel sequence is toned down for younger audience members, yet occurred after the interval after Sam’s death. A token nod to the film or a hasty afterthought; either way this scene would have been better served at the beginning before Sam and Molly’s love scene. However, the use of Unchained Melody as a simple refrain, rather than an in-your-face number, was sweet and heartbreaking at the same time.

The stage props were simple and pared down, as not to distract from the performances. Unfortunately the huge projections of people onto the screens behind the cast often detracted from the main action on stage, as in the case, of  ballsy Wall Street number “More”.  However, they came into great effect, especially during Sam’s first attempt at phasing through a door, and his final ascension into Heaven where I daresay,  it caused a few moist eyes in the house (including my own).

Audience
If you were a fan of the film, the story will have you hooked all over again. The songs, although not memorable, add to the suspense and emotion of the characters. Although a lot has been done to tone down the content for younger theatregoers, there is sexual content at the beginning, and the odd swear word let loose during the action sequences.

Theatre
Due to a high stage the view is restricted from rows A to C in the Stalls for most children and shorter adults. Avoid the back rows of the Royal circle as the view is restricted by the above Grand Circle. Binoculars may come in handy if you are in these far back seats.

Ghost - The Musical Shop

WHAT WE SAY

Our London Review

Great night out: for romantic numbers and tearjerking moments

Morning after effect: checking furtively over your shoulder,  just in case... more »

What You Say

2 reviews, average rating: (5.0 Stars)

Ann Cleghorn: “Best Staging Of Any Broadway Show”

Such a pleasant surprise to see the staging effects. Incredible music an... more

Helmwig Wurmbrand: “Best Musical So Far”

This musical was simply great. It made me cry and laugh at the same time. I... more

View all reviewsWrite review

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