Ghost the Musical Review
The Bristol Hippodrome
Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September 2016
Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud and Andy Moss of Hollyoaks fame headline this new production of Ghost the Musical which we went to see at The Bristol Hippodrome on Monday evening.
The Double Academy Award winning movie is a huge success story, both critically and at the box office, where it was the highest grossing film in the year of its release. It starred the late Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, Tony Goldwyn and Whoopi Goldberg and was directed by Jerry Zucker. Bruce Joel Rubin’s script won the Oscar® for Best Original Screenplay and Whoopi Goldberg won the Oscar® for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.
Walking back to their apartment late one night a tragic encounter sees Sam murdered and his beloved girlfriend Molly alone, in despair and utterly lost. But with the help of a psychic, Sam, trapped between this world and the next, tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her from grave danger…
GHOST THE MUSICAL – REVIEW
If you haven’t seen the musical before, don’t expect a faithful reenactment of the film. The film’s most iconic and moving scene, famously performed to The Righteous Brother’s Unchained Melody, sort of features in the musical version but certainly not as I remember it. Smartphone selfies, modern computers and references to dates beyond the millennium drag the nineties film towards the present day and why not? I suppose there’s nothing tying Ghost to the nineties just because that’s where we first felt its presence.
The sets are quite remarkable, not so much in appearance but in the speed and frequency with which they change. A newly purchased Brooklyn apartment is renovated before our eyes, we’re quickly transported from a street to a hospital, a funeral, an office block, a subway train and the parlour of a dodgy psychic reader.
Effects are simple but effective. We hear a swoosh and quickly catch on that this indicates that freshly deceased Sam has put his hand straight through another person or walked through a closed door. (Nothing to do with this show in particular, but I never could understand why ghosts can walk right through solid walls, yet they can stand on floors without floating through. Anyone else struggle with this lack of consistency?)
After death Sam’s voice becomes echoey.
Slow moving green and purple lighting is used to create a spooky mood in act two.
But our favourite effect is when a tormented subway ghost throws living people and objects around and the train becomes momentarily transparent. I don’t blame Sam for wanting to emulate these sexy telekinetic skills from the subterranean tortured soul.
Aside from the main characters, there are a couple of stand out performances. James Earl Adair plays the hospital ghost so naturally that I think he’d be a great chap to meet if you were lost in purgatory. His singing voice is fabulous too.
Once Sam has been murdered, act one goes from loved up cheeriness to despair and the character who drags us out of this misery is dodgy psychic Oda Mae, played by Jacqui Dubois. She lights up the stage with her giant personality and her amazing voice which is reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg. Her delivery of lines like:
“My God, he’s dead and he’s white!”
has us in stitches.
There’s a smudge of swearing, there’s a scene which looks like it could get seriously raunchy before it retires to the bedroom, there are some pretty dramatic and scary bits and there’s a whole lot of blasphemy. Ghost the Musical is recommended for age 12+ and I’d agree with that.
Playing Molly is Sarah’s theatre debut and it’s a huge role which she plays well. Her voice, which has a lovely tone, loses pitch occasionally. We notice this particularly in the unchained melody scene but think this could be part of her emotional act when she finds herself so close to Sam.
At the end, all the performers are given a decent cheer but Jacqui (Orla Mae) is the one who elicits shrieks from the audience and deservedly so.
Ghost is a story of love, despair and hope. Not surprisingly, much of act one is pretty miserable as Molly has just lost the love of her life. It’s not an upbeat, feel good show so don’t expect to come out of the theatre full of the joys of spring – although you might come out in a hurry to tell your loved ones that you love them! I wouldn’t put it up there with my favourite shows but we did like it, so thanks, as always, to The Hippodrome for an enjoyable evening!
CAST AND CREDITS
BILL KENWRIGHT presents
GHOST – THE MUSICAL
Book and Lyrics by BRUCE JOEL RUBIN
Music and Lyrics by DAVE STEWART AND GLEN BALLARD
Based on the Paramount Pictures film written by BRUCE JOEL RUBIN
Directed by Bob Tomson
Choreographed by Alistair David
Designed by Mark Bailey
Lighting Designed by Nick Richings
Sound Designed by Dan Samson
GHOST – THE MUSICAL
Monday 12th – Saturday 17th September
Matinees on Wed & Sat @2.30pm
Tickets from £14.90
Enjoyed our Ghost The Musical review? Then why not check out other show reviews on Practically Perfect Mums?
DISCLOSURE: WE RECEIVED TICKETS FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS REVIEW.
ALL OPINIONS ARE MY/OUR OWN. POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS