Ghost – the Musical
Paul Johnson | 07 Sep 2016 16:01pm
Opening night (last week) of the new touring production of Ghost the Musical at New Wimbledon Theatre was, by all accounts, more ghastly than ghostly.
Social media was awash afterwards with the news that former Girls Aloud member Sarah Harding was a disaster in the leading role of Molly. I had the information first hand from a friend in the audience that evening who reported off-key singing and forgotten lines with the surmise that producer Bill Kenwright must have been cringing in his seat in the stalls.
By Monday Miss Harding had been diagnosed with a respiratory tract infection and replaced by her understudy Kelly Hampson. And so it was Kelly who took the spotlight on Tuesday’s press night.
Shades of Funny Girl here. Sheridan Smith’s understudy Natasha Barnes proved herself a star when Miss Smith was “indisposed” and has just been named as the Palladium’s Cinderella this Christmas in an all-star cast.
Kelly totally earned her stripes on Tuesday by turning in a delicate, romantic, beautifully voiced performance and thus making her another name to watch. And there’s no doubt she has huge potential to grow into the role even more.
The show is based on the hit 1990 movie starring Demi Moore as Molly and Patrick Swayze as Sam, a high-flying businessman whose spirit is trapped between this world and the next when he is murdered. He knows girlfriend Molly is in mortal danger too but he has no way of warning her. Until he meets zany Oda Mae, a medium who hardly believes her own powers and who just happens to have a list of convictions for fraud as long as your arm.
She alone can hear Sam’s voice and so he bamboozles her into helping him.
Andy Moss (who played Rhys Ashworth in Hollyoaks) wrings every ounce of emotion out of the role of Sam. And Jacqui Dubois is an hilarious, larger-than-life joy as Oda Mae (the role which scooped Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar in the film.)
Some of the visual special effects and illusions work better than others and the whole enterprise has a cutting edge modern look with some funky ensemble scenes. I loved the freaky Subway Ghost (Garry Lee Netley).
The famous Unchained Melody potter’s wheel scene of the movie isn’t given such prominence here, and although the musical features some good numbers (music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard) they are not the sort you can go home singing.
It’s early days for Ghost yet and it’s setting off on a long UK tour during which anything might happen. You’d need a crystal ball to see what that might be cast-wise.
- : admin
- : 06/09/2016