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Ghost The Musical review

Simon Binns takes in an audio-visual treat at the Opera House

Written by . Published on April 20th 2011.

Ghost The Musical review

I’LL BE honest; I’m not really a fan of musicals. All that singing and dancing. All those jazz hands, It’s not really me.

The script doesn’t so much as whisper to us that Sam and Molly are in love, preferring to shout it in your ear with a loudhailer. Fair enough though – the crowd are here for romance as well as music.

Rocking up to the gala night of Ghost at the Opera House last week, however, it was clear that there are plenty of people who do. Coach loads of them, in fact.

I remember the film version of Ghost from being a teenager. In short, Patrick Swayze dies but refuses to go away until he’s made a clay vase with Demi Moore. Or something. It was good old 90s cheese, with plenty of weepy moments for the girls. Swayze probably got his top off somewhere down the line too.

It was morally as deep as a puddle, but fairly entertaining nonetheless.The stage show, however, takes the film, scrunches it into a ball, loads it into a cannon and fires it into orbit.

The first thing to talk about is the sets – phenomenal. Huge digital walls and thin screens interchange and move around the stage, seamlessly dovetailing with the static sets that effortlessly slide in and out of view and hold the story together fantastically well.

They also allow for some clever visual trickery, including a couple of ‘how did they do that?’ moments where Richard Fleeshman’s Sam walks through a door and disappears completely.

The backdrops are so spectacular that you get over the uneasy cheese of the first 15 minutes in Sam and Molly’s (Caissie Levy) apartment. The script doesn’t so much as whisper to us that Sam and Molly are in love, preferring to shout it in your ear with a loudhailer. Fair enough though – the crowd are here for romance as well as music.

Thanks to the amazing sets, we’re transported through the New York stock exchange, the subway (featuring some very clever fight scenes and Matrix-esque special effects), a hospital and a collection of seedy streets, one of which is home to fake psychic Ode Mae Brown (Sharon D Clarke).

The con artist turned clairvoyant is the highlight of the show, as Clarke steals every scene, whether singing or playing it for laughs.

Special mentions to Fleeshman and Levy, however, who both gave pitch perfect vocal performances, despite having the odd dud song to deal with. The famous pottery scene is dealt with in an admirably low key way – they could have gone way over the top on schmaltz – at the start of a second half which starts a little unsure of itself but soon whips through the story of betrayal, revenge and the now standard ‘journey’ of Sam and Molly.Cue plenty of tears and a standing ovation at he end.All in all, Ghost is pretty jaw-dropping stage show. Go and see it for the sets if nothing else, although if you’re a fan of musicals anyway, you can’t fail to be impressed.

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