There’s been an overwhelming set of positive reviews of Ghost The Musical, with many giving Ghost 4/5 and Bloomberg giving it a full 4/4. As ever with critics, its really interesting reading their viewpoints, and in some cases their outright hatred and cynacism, which does make you wonder how happy some of these people are in their real lives. Anyway, for balance we’ve included all of the reviews we’ve found so far, including the 3 not so good ones at the end.
The Daily Telegraph 4/5
Ghost: the Musical at Piccadilly Theatre may not be a great musical, but it is a highly entertaining one that looks set to keep audiences laughing, gasping and sniffing back tears for a long time to come. Rating: * * * *
Like the film on which it is based, Ghost: The Musical proves the guiltiest of pleasures. Indeed, in many ways, Matthew Warchus’s production strikes me as superior to the 1990 movie starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, even if it isn’t in the same joyous league as his wonderful RSC production of Roald Dahl’s Matilda, which arrives in the West End this autumn.
In the movies, you can make anything happen. In the theatre, it takes real ingenuity to summon up ghosts and physical disturbances from beyond the grave. Warchus succeeds spectacularly, here with the help of the illusionist Paul Kieve.
I wondered how it was going to be possible to repeat the film’s trick of showing ghosts emerging from the bodies of those who snuff it during the course of the story. Warchus and Kieve offer a different kind of astonishment. You see the body, and, a few seconds later, you see the ghost, played by the actor you thought was pretending to be dead. He’s yards away from the stiff and you have no idea how he got there. This happens several times, and on each occasion I was fooled by the cunning misdirection of the staging.
The use of state-of-the-art video and projections to conjure up a huge variety of locations from menacing subway stations to sleek Wall Street offices has great panache, too, and there are a host of other splendid tricks.
Though the story is a touch corny, and often gloopily sentimental, there is something genuinely distinctive about Ghost, which combines its lachrymose love story about a murdered banker and his potter girlfriend with frissons of suspense and terrific comedy in the character of the wildly eccentric psychic who comes to their aid.
Bruce Joel Rubin, who wrote the original film and is responsible for the only lightly revised book, here was clearly influenced by Coward’s Blithe Spirit, but his feisty medium, Oda Mae Brown, is an entirely different creation from Madam Arcati, and Sharon D Clarke is a comic joy in the role, making the part entirely her own despite following in the Oscar-winning footsteps of Whoopi Goldberg.
And, in a score mostly consisting of bland power ballads by Dave Stewart, whose work here is unfortunately nothing like as good as his songs for Eurythmics (still less the Righteous Brothers’ classic Unchained Melody, which is retained from the film), Clarke almost blows the roof off the theatre with her raucous rendition of the show’s best original number, I’m Out of Here.
As the lovers separated by death, Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy need to ignite a touch more stage chemistry, and could usefully turn down the volume during the strident ballads. But Andrew Langtree and Ivan de Freitas prove genuinely sinister as the villains of the piece, while the show’s ending, with its mawkish insistence that “the love inside – you take it with you” proves unexpectedly touching and is magically staged.
This may not be a great musical, but it is a highly entertaining one that looks set to keep audiences laughing, gasping and sniffing back tears for a long time to come.
OK, Ghost the Musical, I give in, you win.
Your songs are proficient rather than memorable. You cling too tightly to the shape of the 1990 film. Youre a spectacular that frequently flirts with overkill. But, you know what? You pull it off anyway, with your super-slick staging, strong performances and,. most of all, your emotional yet unusal story that can still transport an audience.
But how fans may wonder, do the director, Matthew Warchus, and the writer, Bruce Joel Rubin (adapting his own screenplay), address Ghosts most iconic moment? Well, although theres still a potters wheel, that mockably phallic wet-clay session is gone. however, The Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody remains the motif. Richard Fleeshman as the buff young banker Sam, sings and strums it to Caissie Levy as his buff young artist girlfriend Molly. It’s smartly done.
It also hugs the soul in a way that the new songs by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard cannot manage. Yet their music – varied in style, yet always big, gives Warchus the scale and variety that he needs to sell a show thats thriller, comedy and supernatural romance. There are power ballds as Molly pines for Sam; power chordy production numbers that evoke big longings in the Big Apple; a gospel tune for Sharon D Clarke in the Whoppi Goldberg role of the psychic Oda Mae Brown; and a jarringly jolly ragtime number that doesn’t really play.
The cast ahndle it all with relish though. Fleeshman, trapped between life and death, gives the big sell to Sam’s confusions and rage. Levy simply soars. So the story survives, even if you can’t confuse it for something written straight for the stage. Rob Howell, the designer, supplies a set that morphs from one New York setting to another. Sometimes you wish that they’d been less slavish to the film, less fussy. But olny in the subway scenes, burdened also with a rapping ghost, does the hi-tech staging struggle to make the right impact.
The first half has some wobbles. The second half builds and builds. There’s a neat chamber musical moment with Same, Molly and Andrew Langtree as their slimy and buff friend Carl. There are proper laughs, thanks to Clarke’s spiritied turn as Oda Mae. And as Sam finally avenges his murder there is proof that love, as another West End phantom might say, never dies.
By this point, resistance is futile. The best single argument for putting this film on the stage is Paul Kieve’s special effects. Sam put his hand through a door, Sam disappears into thin air, characters rise up and leave their bodies when they die a high concept show becomes credible. Now, heaven help us if all shows laid it on this thick. Yet for all the steroidal qualities of Ghost The Musical, it also has wit and heart, and can really, properly dazzle.
IT was the tear-jerking love story that made pottery erotic.
Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze’s clinch over a potter’s wheel in Ghost is an iconic cinema moment.
So it was disappointing to see the scene reduced to a blink-and-you-miss-it moment in the new West End musical version of the 1990 film.
Thankfully, the Righteous Brothers’ hit Unchained Melody still plays as hero Sam helps girlfriend Molly shape a raunchy-looking vase.
The movie’s bedroom scene is also axed, because the timeline has been changed and Sam is already dead.
Deviations aside, Ghost fans will love this spirited resurrection.
Swayze’s role is taken by buff ex-Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman, who gives a strong performance.
Sam has it all – a beautiful girlfriend, Manhattan loft apartment and top career – until he is shot dead by a mugger.
Stuck in limbo, Sam realises his death was no accident and Molly is in danger. He tries to warn her through bogus psychic Oda Mae Brown who, suddenly and hilariously, discovers she really can talk to the dead.
So begins a tale of tears, laughter and a whodunnit – told through tunes.
The role of Oda Mae, which won Whoopi Goldberg an Oscar, is taken by Holby City actress Sharon D Clarke, who puts in a glittering and vibrant turn. Molly is played by Canadian Caissie Levy, whose haunting voice gives you goose bumps.
The set is simply out of this world and flashing images of New York and neon lighting recreate the fast-paced city.
In the breathtaking Subway scene a projected train carriage whizzes past stations as Sam fights another ghost in slow motion.
And a clever box of tricks has Fleeshman’s Sam walking through doors and darting in and out of Oda Mae’s body.
Admittedly, some of the song lyrics are a bit cheesy – but so was the film’s script.
This show is for anyone who sobbed through the original.
Despite all the tears, Ghost The Musical is sure to raise your spirits.
Evening Standard 3/5
Source: The Evening Standard
Ghost: The Musical has a huge readymade audience. The film on which it’s based is romantic, lyrical and tear-jerking – a shamelessly cheesy fantasy.
And with superb special effects and engaging performances, Matthew Warchus’s production certainly has plenty of dazzle.
The plot hardly needs summary: I can’t imagine that many people will go to see the stage version without having seen the film. Crucially, it blends several alluring elements: it’s a love story and a comedy, a tale of financial skulduggery and a foray into the borderlands of the supernatural.
Bruce Joel Rubin has dutifully adapted his own Oscar-winning screenplay: there’s the famous scene with the potter’s wheel, the hungry yearning of the Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody, and the soulful chutzpah of Oda Mae Brown, a con artist who pretends to be psychic and abruptly turns out to be just that.
Here we have the ingredients of a haunting musical. But we end up with something unsubtle and often strident. The songs are the work of Dave Stewart (of Eurythmics fame) and prolific record producer Glen Ballard. They’re mainly power ballads – slick yet bland. While their scale impresses, they feel lyrically insipid.
The show suffers from following the film too closely. Although its fidelity to the visuals of the original is at times spectacular, the music adds no great poignancy, and its sentimentality feels exaggerated and synthetic.
As Sam Wheat, the muscular banker who’s killed by a mugger in a botched attempt to steal important business documents, Richard Fleeshman is powerful and sensitive. Caissie Levy shows a seemingly effortless vocal potency as his devoted partner Molly. Yet we never get a strong sense of their passion; it’s a dynamic they articulate but don’t really inhabit, and there’s little trace of the erotic.
There’s an assured performance from Andrew Langtree as Carl, the money-laundering colleague of Sam’s who comes between the lovers, and Sharon D Clarke brings some welcome notes of throaty gospel to her role as the charlatan Oda Mae.
The chief success is the production’s aesthetic. Rob Howell’s impressive set deftly integrates magician Paul Kieve’s effects and clever projections by Jon Driscoll, and there are moments of gasp-inducing ingenuity. This technical wizardry, allied to the appeal of the leads, may just be enough to make Ghost: The Musical an unearthly hit.
The Independent On Sunday
Source : The Independent On Sunday
It was almost a dead cert: Ghost The Musical was sure to be toe-curling, right?
After all, the 1990 film was rife with schmaltz, and with naff special effects once its romantic hero was transmogrified into a crime-solving spectre.
Remember the much-satirised scene where Patrick Swayze’s banker-boy Sam and his gal, Demi Moore’s Molly, smooch over her squelchy potter’s wheel. Or what about the supernatural schlock when Sam’s ghost – seeing the villains who’ve murdered him punished – finally heads heavenwards, apparently summoned thither by Tinkerbell’s extended family (a lot of incandescent balls)?
Now Ghost has been rehashed for the West End, with added songs. And the good news is, the musical proves more impressive than the film, because the canny director Matthew Warchus has a wizard technical team, including the illusionist Paul Kieve.
The trompe l’oeils are more thrilling and entertaining. In fact, they’re some of the best I’ve seen on stage. You see Richard Fleeshman’s Sam shot dead in an alley, then his soul, in the blink of an eye, rising like a doppelgänger from his corpse which remains sprawled on the ground. When he melts into thin air at the end, you can’t see how that’s done either.
The video projections (by Jon Driscoll) become dazzlingly snazzy. As we follow Sam and his double-dealing buddy Carl into Manhattan, crowds of city slickers (choreographed by Liam Steel) flow past, while fluorescent skyscrapers swirl around them. Warchus is visibly indebted to director Rupert Goold (of Enron fame), but Ghost is pioneering in terms of West End musicals too, embracing pop-video graphics with panache. Crucially, Warchus has drawn commendable performances from his cast. After a corny opening scene, Fleeshman and Caissie Levy almost become poignant. She’s a hopeless potter, but Levy sings a torch song with haunting sweetness. Meanwhile, Sharon D Clarke is a blast, playing the spiritualist Oda Mae Brown with broad comic swagger.
In general, the numbers (by Dave Stewart, Glen Ballard and Bruce Joel Rubin) are a piecemeal medley, ranging from ragtime to rap. Moreover, if you thought Sam’s attempts to protect Molly were inept in the film, the denouement in Rubin’s stage adaptation is even dumber. He leaves Molly and Oda Mae, surely, facing charges of murder and financial fraud.
Is there anything much to be gained dramatically by turning the synthetic but likeable hit movie Ghost (1990) into a stage musical? With a score by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin who wrote the original film and a production of spectacular visual dynamism by Matthew Warchus, this much-hyped show suggests that the answer is in the negative. The movie strikes an attractive balance between tear-jerking sentiment and the tongue-in-cheek charm of a nail-biting comedy-thriller.
This being a musical, the show is over-weighted to the first of elements. The action keeps being held up while Molly hollers out yet another number about how much she misses Richard Fleeshman’s hunky, but bland Sam, or how she needs to suspend her disbelief in his trapped-between-two-worlds spirit life. Caissie Levy sings these songs with power but she cannot disguise the banality of their lyrics nor the sub-rock sameyness of the music. Like the film, the show at several points invokes “Unchained Melody”. Its soaring plangency puts to shame the rest of the score and provides one genuinely lump-in-throat moment when Sam and Molly sing an overlapping duet of it, through the agency of Oda Mae’s body, they can cradle each other in a poignantly intimate dance.
You are left with very some hit-and-miss comedy and brilliant visuals and special effects. Sharon D Clarke is hilarious as the formerly fake and now reluctantly genuine psychic Oda Mae. Stalking over a mountain of expensive luggage, with a black-sequined posse of servants, she blasts the roof off with “Outta Here”, her fantasy about the high life with a million dollars. Offsetting that, though, there is the mood-destroying mistake of the witless tap-dancing vaudeville of disgruntled spooks who greet Sam to the other side.
Paul Kieve’s illusions thrill as our hero, say, melts into thin air. Transparent, rearrangeable LED screens swarm with stock-market numbers, as a chorus of bankers perform thrusting dances, or they cause a lurch in the stomach as they plunge us into hurtling subway trains where Matrix-like movement is unsettlingly married to visual distortion. It’s all seamlessly inventive and full of synaesthetic pleasures, but it can’t fully compensate for the shallowness in other departments. I’m afraid that my belief in this show as a bona fide piece of musical theatre had given up the ghost some time before Molly has to give up hers.
YOU remember the film – the one starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg where Swayze’s character is murdered on the streets of New York, is trapped here as a ghost and tries desperately to communicate to his bereaved girlfriend through a dodgy psychic, while trying to save her from his murderer.
Released in 1990, it mixed romance, fantasy and thriller, won two Oscars and featured the much-parodied scene where Patrick and Demi got steamy behind a potter’s wheel to the strains of Unchained Melody.
While it’s easy to feel skeptical about another blockbuster film given the musical theatre treatment, here it is the original screenwriter, Bruce Joel Rubin, who has adapted his much-loved work for the stage while Dave Stewart from The Eurythmics has come on board to create new music with Glen Ballard.
The result is a modern rock musical which remains true to the spirit of the film and rejoices in the sentimental love story – the man next to me was actually sobbing – while the score heightens the emotional intensity. Sam’s death is perhaps the first really impressive moment where a grapple with a mugger results in a gun shot and in Sam seemingly running out of his dead body. It’s the first of several stand out illusions masterminded by magician Paul Kieve, which only gain in sophistication as the show progresses, and are aided by the eye-grabbing use of screen projections.
As Sam, beefy former Coronation Street actor Richard Fleeshman is especially effective at communicating his growing horror as he unravels his own murder. Caissie Ley as his girlfriend, Molly, somehow manages to be likeable, strong and vulnerable while belting out some powerful ballads, although if we’re talking knockout vocal chords, then Sharon D Clarke as the disgruntled psychic Oda Mae Brown is outstanding. With her soul numbers and salty humour, she proves as vibrant as her fuschia-pattered dress while Adebayo Bolaji puts in a menacing cameo as the disturbed, dreadlocked Subway Ghost.
And yes the anticipated potter’s wheel scene makes an appearance, but it’s smartly done as a homage, rather than a slavish reproduction. There are a few jarring notes – not least when the drama of Sam’s death is followed by an upbeat tap dance and so completely undermined – but Matthew Warchus’s production is still likely to leave audiences haunted by the love-and-loss story and spooked by the special effects.
Source : The Guardian
Musicals based on movies are a dime a dozen, but Ghost is the first I’ve seen that feels like a film. It is not just that Bruce Joel Rubin’s book adheres closely to his movie script. It’s also that the real stars of Matthew Warchus’s production are Rob Howell’s sets and Jon Driscoll’s video designs, which graphically recreate the kaleidoscopic frenzy of Manhattan life. This is a musical in which the eyes emphatically have it.In one key respect, however, the musical suffers by comparison with the movie. It is still the story of Sam, a banker, who is only able to articulate his love for his artist partner, Molly, when he returns in ghostly form. In the movie you sensed the physical intensity of the couple’s relationship, not least because of the famously phallic pottery-wheel sequence. Here that is stripped of its erotic content. Caissie Levy’s Molly, although well sung, seems somewhat grumpy and Richard Fleeshman’s colourless Sam apologetically sings, in proof of his unarticulated affection, “I make you scrambled eggs.” The passion is upstaged by the projections.
The romantic songs, by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, are strangely forgettable. Where the show sparks into life is with the emergence of Oda Mae Brown, the fake medium who acts as Sam’s intermediary with Molly. This is partly because Sharon D Clarke has an overwhelming personality and a richly expressive voice. The big number she sings with her acolytes, Are You a Believer?, makes everything else look tame: until, that is, Clarke later fantasises about the possibilities of life with $10m.
It is Clarke who provides the show with what it mostly lacks: heart and soul. For the rest, one is left to gawp at the ingenuity of Paul Kieve’s illusions. Projections evoke everything from the concrete canyons of New York to the ascent into the heavens. Visual trickery persuades us that Sam has walked through walls, shot back and forth out of a moving train and occupied the body of Oda Mae Brown. Warchus masterminds the whole operation with skill. But unlike Matilda, which features members of the same production team, I felt the people were largely secondary to the optical pyrotechnics.
Source: The Stage
Take a familiar film title, retain the original screenwriter to provide the book and add in a new score by a well-known pop writer – but be careful to retain the classic song identified with the film’s most iconic moment – then stir. An instant, Broadway-ready hit is born.
Sharon D Clarke (Oda Mae Brown) and Richard Fleeshman (Sam Wheat) in Ghost The Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre, LondonPhoto: Tristram Kenton
If only it were that simple. Just think of shows such as Flashdance and Dirty Dancing, which systematically throw away the goodwill of their titles to flounder in unnecessarily literal recreations of their film versions as they inevitably recreate the shower dance and watermelon scene respectively. So, does Ghost the Musical have a ghost of a chance, as our grieving heroine once again sits at her potter’s wheel, this time trying to spin clay into theatrical gold?
The answer on this occasion is a surprising yes, and it’s precisely because it constantly surprises, with layers of genuine feeling and real comedy all kept in constant forward motion, in a show full of plot-driven tension and tenderness. It’s another triumph for director Matthew Warchus, now the savviest director of musicals in the British theatre, who – with the West End arrival of his RSC hit Matilda in October – will have the two best new musicals of the year to his credit.
He magnificently marshals the spectacle that musicals traditionally thrive on, yet colours it with the right emotional detail to offer a genuinely involving and gripping entertainment. Designer Rob Howell brilliantly combines physical sets with Jon Driscoll’s video and projections to keep the action in constant motion, with choreography by Ashley Wallen and additional movement by Liam Steel keeping the cast moving, too.
But it is the central human interaction between Caissie Levy’s attractively vulnerable Molly and Richard Fleeshman’s buff but dead Sam that moves the audience. It’s a relationship you care about. Even if Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard’s sometimes generic pop score is occasionally too ballad heavy, the show delivers on other fronts. Paul Kieve, who created the illusions, and Sharon D Clarke, playing the phoney psychic who suddenly finds she’s not so phoney after all, are two of the secret weapons of British theatre, and steal the show with their contributions – the first by stealth, the second with sass.
A producing team that coincidentally includes David Garfinkle, original lead Broadway producer of Spider-Man, has given flesh and blood life to a story of ectoplasm that is sure to have a long theatrical afterlife.
Whats On Stage
Source: Whats On Stage
There are moments in the 1990 film of Ghost when music is undoubtedly called for: crop-haired, gamine, sexy Demi Moore’s face filling with tears just doesn’t seem enough to express the pain of losing her lover. And Patrick Swayze’s “real life” death two years ago has only made things worse. He really is untouchable.
I’m not sure Ghost the Musical supplies what’s missing to a sufficient degree: the Righteous Brothers’ version of “Unchained Melody,” so cheesily overwhelming in the movie, is at first simply and unfussily delivered by Richard Fleeshman in the Swayze role of clean-cut banker Sam Wheat.
But with book and lyrics by Ghost screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin, and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and the record producer and arranger Glen Ballard, we do at least have an utterly faithful rendition of the film’s narrative and a couple of strongly built, though not exactly soul-stirring, power ballads for Caissie Levy’s bereaved Molly Jensen, who’s more of a Jennifer Aniston than a Demi Moore.
Most impressively, Matthew Warchus’ slick and efficient production, even though it loses dramatic momentum in the first half, finally pulls the elements of love story, thriller and supernatural transfiguration into one ship-shape organic whole. The film is about finishing the incomplete business of a relationship; the musical is all about belief, and not just the narcissistic kind of belief you get in most musicals.
Sam and Molly are mugged by their best friend’s hit man as part of a money-laundering scam. Sam is killed and immediately stands up alongside his own body. The notion that we have a parallel existence beyond mortality is stunningly expressed in a show of video projections (designed by Jon Driscoll) and a silhouette of an ensemble who stride through Wall Street like spooky automatons.
These sequences are what make the musical crackle into life where there previously was none. Contact with both Sam and the zombie half-way house fraternity is sealed with the intervention of Sharon D Clarke’s mountainous, hot-gospelling psychic Oda Mae Brown, sensibly avoiding any wise-cracking, wacky resemblance to Whoopi Goldberg in the movie.
Warchus and designer Rob Howell create a teeming contemporary canvas in Wall Street and Brooklyn, and the lighting of Hugh Vanstone and illusions of Paul Kieve conspire to make the membrane of materialism both transparent and susceptible: Sam walks through doors, the subway evaporates around a rushing train, the galaxy melts in a shower of shooting stars.
The orchestrations of Christopher Nightingale are as good as the music they serve, though there’s not much of a killer punch to any of it. Sam and Molly are an anodyne couple, whileAndrew Langtree has more to work with as their treacherous friend, Carl, a smug turncoat who fiddles the books and adds insult to injury (and murder) by closing in on Molly.
All three are stranded, however, in a force field of energy emanating not just from Sharon D Clarke, but also the wonderful choreography of Ashley Wallen and Liam Steel, Mark White as the explanatory, soft shoe-shuffling hospital corpse, Ivan De Freitas as the street-fighting killer and Adebayo Bolaji as a fearsome subway ghost with dead-locked dreadlocks. In all, it’s a fairly fine new musical, and not just for those who love the movie.
– by Michael Coveney
Now the reviewers who got out of bed the wrong side.
Source: The Daily Mail
Much of Ghost is not so much musical theatre as blaring pop concert, with hi-tech graphics and some odd choreography.
Several of the songs are screamed rather than sung. The dancing would not have been out of place in Top of the Pops.
Sitting in the middle of the stalls, I felt as though I had just spent two and a half hours at the noisy end of an airport runway. The whole thing is appallingly over-amplified. This show is a stage adaptation of a 1990 Hollywood romance starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze. It retains many of the soupy clichés of that genre.
I did not enjoy the first half much and returned after the interval, fortified by a schooner of the producers’ white wine, with trepidation. Yet by the curtain call I was, if not moved, far more enthusiastic.
Richard Fleeshman and Caissie Levy play 20-something New York yuppies Sam and Molly. Banker Sam’s surname is Wheat but in Mr Fleeshman he becomes something distinctly meaty – pumped arm muscles and a rippling six-pack. One for the hen parties, perhaps.
The opening scene is all taut-torso T-shirts as the lovers find a new Brooklyn apartment.
Sam’s workmate Carl (Andrew Langtree) helps them celebrate their move. Carl claims to be their best friend. There are repeated ‘You guys’ and ‘You know whats?’. Terrible dialogue. Obvious melodies, too.
It is unfair to judge Miss Levy’s acting, so wooden are her lines, but she has a STRONG voice. Turn it down a bit, there’s a dear.
Things only lift when Sam dies and he meets an eccentric ghost (Mark White) in a hospital.
We watch the death of a woman in an operating theatre and see her spirit rise from the body.
This may upset anyone who has recently lost a relation.
However, the show’s tentative exploration of an afterlife did grab me.
Sam’s ghost is not in heaven or hell but some other realm in which terrestrial objects can be touched, if he tries hard enough.
Some baddies who die are despatched pretty quickly to the realm of Lucifer, complete with red flashes and images of a cackling devil.
Heaven is also discovered towards the end of the show. The theology might not satisfy the Archbishop of Canterbury but it is interesting to see the world of spirits examined so vividly on the popular stage.
Sharon D. Clarke brings the production to life, if we can say that, with her comic performance as a dodgy New York psychic.
The appearances of Sam and other ghosties are engineered thanks to cheerful use of white paint, blinding lights and some clever tricks. Well done, illusionist Paul Kieve.
Worth going to? Richard Dawkins and his crowd will hate it, but I’d say yes – provided that a) you take some cotton wool, and b) you are not expecting anything too subtle or classical.
If by the end you have not contracted tinnitus from the over-amplification, you might even hear a few sniffles of emotion as they sing the final song.
THERE is heaven and then there is hell. And somewhere between the two is the living death that is Ghost.
Based on the hit movie, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, this musical version isn’t so much a joyous celebration of love lasting beyond the grave as dead on arrival.
Ghost has passed on, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life, it has joined the choir invisible – or it soon will, with top seats costing £65.
The music, by Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, is the kind of bland pap he churned out in the 80s. The lyrics – “I picked up your shirt this morning, I don’t know why, I don’t know why’ – are the kind of toe-curling sentimentality found in cheap birthday cards. Even the choreography was last seen in a trashy Eurythmics video.
Just as in the film, along comes psychic Oda Mae Brown, who can talk to the dead and the loitering Sam. Sharon D. Clarke gives a bit of zest to proceedings, just as Whoopi Goldberg did in the film. But she can’t raise the dead of this production alone.
Fleeshman has a fine voice and spectacular moving video screens and special effects help distract from proceedings. But not for long.
This Ghost seems destined not to haunt the West End for very long.
Source : Herald Scotland
Noel Coward famously said of Lionel Bart’s Blitz that he left the theatre humming the sets.
His ghost would say the same about this uninspired show – music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard – based on the 1990 movie starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopie Goldberg.
The tuneless score is loud and drowns the lyrics which, when one can hear them, don’t sound up to much. However Matthew Warchus’ direction is superb.
The amazing sets –moving panels with immaculate back projections – take one from the Bronx to Wall Street, to the subway and the Loft where Yuppie Sam Wheat (hunky Richard Fleeshman) lives with his potter girlfriend Molly (Caissie Levy) in the twinkling of an eye. The illusions are also dazzling. Sam is killed and his ghost materialises yards away from his body. He walks through a previously solid door.
The plot sticks to the movie. His treacherous chum Carl (Andrew Langtree) has been swindling their firm and needs the access codes owned by Sam. To get them he arranges a mugging which turns into murder after which Sam’s ghost hangs round to protect Molly from harm with the help of a fake psychic (Sharon D Clarke).
The leads are unmemorable, but Sharon D is a joy, funny and in glorious voice. She could, if given the material, have stopped the show. The film’s famous potter’s wheel sex scene goes for little, while its theme song, Unchained Melody, is only hinted at, wisely because it shows up the rest of the songs horribly. Now Dirty Dancing is no more, this will nonetheless be the next hen night show of choice.