★★★| Based on the 1990 film of the same name, Ghost follows the story of Sam and Molly, whose life together is cut short when Sam is murdered in a seemingly random street robbery. Sam’s ghost stays close to Molly, but he soon finds out that the cause of his death was no accident and that the reasons behind his murder lie a little too close to home. Getting in contact with Oda Mae Brown, a fake medium who can actually hear him, Sam sets out to convince Molly that he is still with her, and to protect her from danger.
This musical, with songs and lyrics written by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics has been around for some time, and this new production has overhauled the show, giving it a clean, contemporary and fresh feel. The show follows the plot of the film closely, complete with the famous scene at the potter’s wheel to the dulcet tones of the Righteous Brothers.
With a strong central performance and a beautifully natural voice, Carolyn Maitland stood out from the cast with her performance of the recently widowed Molly, whilst Jaqui Dubois gave a sass-filled comedy performance as Oda Mae, hitting the right comedy notes and bringing some relief from the on-stage sadness portrayed by the lead characters. Whilst there was nothing really wrong with his performance, Andy Moss (Hollyoaks), for some reason, didn’t particularly convince as Sam, not quite having the gravitas and weight that would really drive the character home convincingly.
The set was impressive for a touring production, which constantly changed and adapted to portray the different locations, and when you throw into the mix the well-constructed lighting scheme by Nick Richings, an immersive sound design and a well-balanced audio which picked up the clear diction of the cast, you had a technically solid production.
But where the show falters, surprisingly, is in its musical numbers. The songs themselves were enjoyable enough to listen to during the show, but despite the pop credentials of the writer, they were instantly forgettable and didn’t contain the usual hook or melody which has you humming them as you leave the theatre. The songs fell somewhere between trying to progress the story and trying to be an entertaining piece of pop, but tended to fall between the two. What was also rather disappointing was the choreography, which was rather simplistic and lacklustre, adding to the feeling that the songs weren’t either show stopping production numbers or narratively progressive.
Despite its faults, his reworked production improves significantly on previous versions of the show, pulling out more of the emotional aspects of the story and proving to be a pleasant, if ultimately fairly forgettable production and one which fans of the film will certainly delight in.
Ghost is currently on National Tour until the 22nd April 2017 (www.kenwright.com/microsite/ghost-the-musical/). Ghost was reviewed at Sheffield Theatres, whose production of Everyone’s Talking About Jamie premieres on the 9th February 2017. Visit www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk for details.