The classic love story of girl meets boy, they fall in love, something terrible happens, and then all is resolved in the end. We all know the one. As easy as this storyline is to follow, productions can get quite samey and almost cheesy. With ‘Ghost, The Musical’, not only do the actors have to tell this love story with authenticity and energy; they also have to make the audience believe in ghosts. Putting these two elements together sounds like a disaster waiting to happen on stage. However, take out the corny rom-com aspect, this production is moving, impressive and beautiful.
Based on the 1990 Bruce Joel Rubin film, the story follows young lovers Sam and Molly who have just set up home together in Brooklyn. After being mugged in the streets, Sam is killed. Now a ghost, Sam is after the villain that set him up.
The songs, also written by Bruce Joel Rubin, are a great mixture of upbeat and ballads, with Alistair David’s choreography being slick and running like clockwork – like New York. Bob Tomson’s direction and use of smartphones bring the show to the present day but still keeps the references to the original script and time period. Songs include the well-known number ‘Unchained Melody’, written by Hy Zaret and Alex North.
Niall Sheehy as Sam and Rebekah Lowings as Molly are the picture-perfect couple that guides the events along. Both have strong singing voices and Lowings’ beautifully haunting song ‘With You’ was a goose-bump moment. Jacqui Dubois provides the comedy as psychic Oda Mae Brown and has the audience eating out of the palm of her hands in ‘I’m Outta Here’ where she shows of her impressive vocal power.
Mark Bailey cleverly designs the tricks or ‘illusions’, along with Nick Richings’ lighting design. The smallest lighting change saw Sam go from walking human to disembodied ghost. Some of the ‘illusions’ to a while to get used to, but some still have me wondering how they managed it. The moment Sam walks through the door the first time is mesmerising. I also really enjoyed the Subway Ghost, played by Lovonne Richards, where the whole carriage moved in slow motion, with iPads slowly flying across the cart. The backdrop of the New York skyline gives you a real sense of the hustle and bustle of the busy city, creating a film-like quality to the show.
The ensemble are a strong unit, playing tourists, bankers and everything else in between. The show is high energy throughout, and the opening of Act 2 was punchy and dramatic.
Ghost is a clever piece of theatre that deserved its standing ovation finish.
On at Manchester’s Palace Theatre until the 20