REVIEW: Ghost the Musical, New Victoria Theatre

Heart- wrenchingly emotional and beautifully presented, this production  captures the spirit of the film.  

(c)Pamela Raith Photography.

Romantic, thrilling and funny are three words you can associate with the 90’s beloved film starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. But these three little words can also be applied to this heartfelt production, that effectively brings the story and Bruce Joel Rubin and Dave Stewart’s lavish score to life.

Ghost follows the story of young couple Sam and Molly who seemingly have their whole lives ahead of them – until a burglary goes wrong and Sam is murdered. But with the help of psychic Oda Mae Brown, Sam (who is trapped between worlds) has to protect Molly from grave danger that she now finds herself in.

Despite some initial problems with the sound that drown out some of the lyrics in this particular performance, Bob Tomson’s production gorgeously conveys the poignancy of the main themes of loss, grief and love with great sensitivity to create production that is thoroughly mesmerising from start to finish. It seems to have also been given a new lease of life thanks to new lyrics and songs including the charming ‘You Gotta Let Go Now’ added to keep the emotional levels high.

Thanks to simple but slick set design by Mark Bailey, many of the most powerful songs such as ‘Suspend My Disbelief/I Had a Life’ and ‘With You’ are allowed to ring out and take centre stage. Meanwhile, the finale scene is also beautifully played out thanks Nick Riching’s exquisite lighting that highlights the sadness of the final moments. Every element of the show blends well together to make the story utterly convincing and believable – helped by some magical illusions from Richard Pinner and imaginative choreography by Alistair David as evidenced in the tube scenes for example.

Performance wise, while initially there seem to be some nerves vocally on display from Rebekah Lowings as Molly and Niall Sheehy as Sam, they both settled down to offer solid and immensely enjoyable performances. In particular, Lowing’s portrayal of Molly’s grief in the aftermath of Sam’s murder is so beautifully performed – particularly during her rendition of ‘With You’ that the audience is utterly drawn into her grief. Sheehy effectively conveys Sam’s growing frustration and desperation – well highlighted in the tube scene in which he learns how to push things.

Elsewhere, Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae Brown is hilariously sassy and a real force of energy throughout. She effectively makes her own mark on the character that was so memorably portrayed by Whoopi Goldberg – relying on a great sense of comic timing to really add some nice moments of humour – particularly during the scene at the bank. Sergio Pasquariello is not completely convincing as Carl – there doesn’t seem to be enough of that underlying sense that he is a corrupt person or increasing desperation towards the end when the character will do anything to get what he wants.

The whole production is pacy and rarely allows you a moment to catch your breath or emotions. This is great in the more intense moments – but it can feel in the more reflective scenes it is slightly too rushed through.

Overall, Ghost is a mesmerising, thrilling and romantic production that will ensure more than a few tears by the end.

By Emma Clarendon

Ghost the Musical continues to play at the New Victoria Theatre until  the 9th February before continuing to tour.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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