Finish a perfect summer weekend away in London with a visit to the West End. Whether you are looking for a romantic London theatre break or just need a relaxing weekend with your girls, this is just the ticket for you: Ghost the musical.
Ghost the musical is based on the 1990 film with Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. Though Whoopi won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, Patrick’s sex-symbol status was cemented with that pottery scene.
The musical pulls all the theatrical stops and trickery to create an amazing live-experience. Smoothly rotating and folded sets are matched with clever projections to set the scene. It is a visual feast, especially when the chorus completes the picture with a tightly choreographed group dance.
Set in New York, the story starts when artist Molly Jensen (Caissie Levy) and banker Sam Wheat (Richard Fleeshman) move into an apartment in Brooklyn with help of their friend Carl (Andrew Langtree).
The first songs start a little sudden (the “Hey Guys listen up:”- cue music- variation.) but the incorporation of “Unchained Melody” is sheer genius. The charm with which Richard Fleeshman pulls it off makes the female, and no doubt some of the male audience, forget he’s not Swayze: We All Still Would. It’s the moment he grabs us and takes us through the rest of the show.
Visual treats continue when we see the outer body experience happening live on stage. This new technology in set-design is surprising, sudden and impressive. It returns a couple of times but before you can get bored of it, you believe it: so much that even the classic suggestion of a well-lit cloud of evaporated dry-ice near the climax of the play, makes you see apparitions.
Ghost doesn’t just rely on the set for theatrical magic: Sharon D Clarke as medium Oda Mae Brown simply rocks the house! The moment Ms Clarke steps onto stage, she shows you what live performance is about. Her impeccable timing gets her the biggest laughs of the night and she belts the songs while embracing her role of comic-relief in some seriously camp dances.
No such fun for poor Caissie Levy whose devastated Molly has a beautiful voice but who was unfortunately stuck with the love-songs. These songs rather described the situation than moved the plot along but one could argue this fitted the character. (She’s heartbroken, she doesn’t want to move on!)
Despite some of the projections over-egging the love a little, (in particular one ‘intimate’ scene on stage projection: two clasping hands, what kind of 1950s euphemism is that?) we do connect to the story of Molly and Sam.
A huge highlight is the musical’s equivalent of the pottery scene, so fans: don’t be disappointed when that scene seems short. The musical’s triumphant alternative is a slow-dance scene where even the most cynical of us will get goosebumps.
There are references to the film but Ghost the musical has created its own magical moments: theatre is a different medium than cinema after all. Still the musical definitely won’t disappoint the film-fans, in fact they should see it: unlike the film, this is not an experience you can relive on DVD.