Ghost: The Musical - Musical Theatre Review (Tour)

Musicals based on iconic films from the Eighties and Nineties just seem to continue their hold on the musical theatre world and this version of Ghost: The Musical currently on tour is no different. (I’m still waiting on Back to the Future... Come on, Producers.) Here the production is re-imagined from its West End beginnings in 2011 and stars Carolyn Maitland and Andy Moss as the two leads, Molly and Sam. If you haven’t seen the film, a quick recap for you… When young and in-love couple Sam and Molly move into their new home in Brooklyn, everything seems to be going so well for them. That is until one night Sam is shot in a hold up gone wrong, but gets stuck between worlds as a ghost, whilst Molly sinks deep into mourning. However, all may not be what it seems and Sam finds a psychic to help him communicate with Molly to try and set things right.

In a slightly surprising move, this production is set in the modern day, with selfies and iPhones being splashed about all over the place from the opening scene. This doesn’t seem to add much to the story and also creates a few bumps in the already slightly clunky narrative. Still, there’s lots to enjoy here. Molly is played with surety by the brilliant Maitland and Moss does a pretty convincing job as Sam (it’s always going to be difficult to step in Swayze’s boots after all). In particular there’s a nice rock sound to some of his more harrowing songs, which works nicely against the soothing tones of Maitland. The infamous clay scene is kept brief and is sweetly romantic rather than overtly sexy, which seems like a wise choice, if perhaps a little disappointing for the die-hard fans.

There’s also a fantastically strong turn from Jacqui Dubois who makes her psychic Oda Mae perfectly distinct yet just as funny as Whoopi’s famous portrayal, and she adds much needed levity and fun to the piece. Other nice ensemble stand outs are perfectly on-point Lori Barker who I couldn’t help but watch throughout and Garry Lee Netley as the always delightfully furious Subway Ghost. It’s incredibly clear that the ensemble as a whole work incredibly hard with the somewhat challenging material they face.

Some of the choreography does sadly appear to be a little lacking in places, although this could be down to a combination of an awkward soundtrack and a small ensemble on a pretty bare stage. Furthermore, the common criticism that the soundtrack is not particularly memorable is a fair one. The exception is the beautiful ‘With You’ (now a BGT / X Factor staple, but don’t let that put you off) which is sung to perfection by Maitland. Her vocals perfectly encapsulate Molly’s grief, and it is an incredibly touching moment. I may or may not have had a little snivel.

Despite these small flaws, Ghost is overall an entertaining evening full of fun nostalgia, and there is plenty to enjoy from an acting point of view. I even managed a teeny, tiny little tear at the end, but don’t tell anyone. Totally worth it for fans of the film, and those curious for another film to musical adaptation.

Ghost: The Musical
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
18th April – 22nd April, 2017

Then continuing on tour. Details at -

http://www.kenwright.com/microsite/ghost-the-musical/

© Carly Halse - Reviewed on 18th April, 2017.

Author's review: 
3