Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Ghost the Musical: Theatre Review


The image of Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore behind the pottery wheel is one of the most iconic images in Hollywood history; to translate this onto the stage could have turned out to be an awful way of making some money off the GHOST franchise or it could have been an amazing musical.
Ghost the musical first opened in Manchester for a 'pre West End' run, then opening in London at the Piccadilly Theatre. The show has since opened on Broadway and they are even panning on taking the production to Australia soon. When the show opened it received ok reviews, from what critics had said it wasn't that great of a musical but it was good entertainment. From what I heard from other people, it was amazing. I'm not one to have my mind made up by other people but I wasn't rushing to get a ticket to the show. However, when the opportunity had come up to see it I didn't turn it down. I was sceptical about the show and am still thinking I might struggle to put what I think about it into words.
There is a hype surrounding the show which I'm sure everyone knows about! Unfortunately the show doesn't live up to this, in fact it doesn't even come close to it. The show is ok, not much more can be said to be honest. Not everyone has seen the original film (I haven't... don't judge!) but you know a rough outline of the storyline even if you haven't watched it.
The story follows Molly and Sam, an artist and a banker, who move into a new apartment. Sam not long after gets killed in a robbery which went wrong, Molly is heartbroken but Sam's spirit is left. He can't talk to anyone nor can anyone see him but he finds this one woman, Oba Mae Brown, who is conning people into thinking she can talk to the dead but when she finds out she can actually make contact with them she freaks out. Sam finds out who murders him and Oba Mae Brown helps him to make contact with Molly and to finally put this murder right.
The show features a number of tricks and illusions by Paul Kieve, some of them are brilliant and one in particular that impressed me was the one on the subway (people who have seen this show will know what I'm talking about!). However quite a few of them were a little pants, not only did I instantly know how they did them but you could even see on stage how they did it. But they were still fantastic for the stage. Hugh Vanstone's lighting design was very impressive, I loved his work in Matilda and his work in Ghost was just as good, a very talented man! Matthew Warchus's and Ashley Wallen's direction and choreography were great; Ashley Wallen's chorography in particular was brilliant. Absolutely incredible, he didn't have much to work with but what he's produced was fantastic. Rob Howell's design was good at first, but 15 minutes into the show I was bored of the screens which created every location. The projections also were over used, the whole show was based around these screens, videos and projections and I got so bored of them. Was it a clever design aspect or just a cheap way of saving some money? Well, I'm not sure but I know how it looked on stage. Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart wrote some exceptional songs, some were awful but the rest were good! Bruce Joel Rubin also wrote a good book for the show, whilst providing some lyrics for the production too.
Mark Evans and Siobhan Dillion star in the production as Sam Wheat and Molly Jensen. Mark does a great job at the role, I can't compare him to Richard Fleeshman because I never saw him but Marks vocals were astounding and Siobhan captured an innocence and venerability in Molly which was beautiful to watch. However I'm not sure these two worked with each other as well as they could have, something was missing. There wasn't that spark in their relationship which I wanted to see. Andrew Lantree as Carl Bruner complemented Siobhan's Molly greatly and he played the role tremendously.
Sharon D Clarke was perfect casting as Oda Mae Brown, on this particular night she seemed a little reserved in her performance but she still delivered an excellent performance. The ensemble were great, I loved the numbers they were featured in. All worked well with each other and performed the choreography beautifully with Olivia Phillip, Francesca Hoffman and Paul Ayres standing out for me the most. Special mention for Lisa Davina Phillip and Jenny Fitzpatrick who were brilliant to watch as Clara and Louise! I wanted them to have more moments on stage, they were hilarious and probably my favourite thing about this show!
The show overall wasn't what I thought it would be in the slightest, at times it felt very cheap and cheesy but there were some great moments in the show. I didn't enjoy the show as much as I thought I would but anyone else who sees this show will have a good night. The show may not be the best in town but it most certainly in a night of good entertainment.

Rating: ***

Ghost is currently playing at the Piccadilly Theatre

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