Monday, 28 November 2016

"Ghost The Musical"
Nottingham Theatre Royal.
Ghost the Musical is a musical with book and lyrics by Bruce Joel Rubin and music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.
Based on the hit 1990 film the plot centres on lovers Sam and Molly, who are attacked as they are returning to their apartment. When Sam dies he becomes caught between the real world and the next. Molly is in danger and Sam cannot leave her. A medium, Oda Mae Brown, helps Sam to get in touch with Molly to warn her.
I love the film "Ghost" with Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and, having seen both local and UK Touring productions I loved the stage versions, musical and non musical, so you can see that I'd have high expectations.
Having read several of the reviews about Sarah Harding's singing and acting ability throughout this run of the tour, I was very interested in her role of Molly.
When you see the two lead male roles you can tell that there was a slight difference in the acting abilities between them and Sarah. Singing musical theatre is also very different to singing in a girl band like Girls Aloud, and that difference shows as well.
That aside, if the reviews from some of the run is to be believed, then Sarah has learnt very quickly, either that or the reviewers, nay critics, must have had it in for her because I loved Sarah's performance. She showed emotion where needed and, while there aren't many to touch the Cassie Levy version, Sarah did a wonderful job of "With You".
Sarah is very easy on the eye and you have to applaud her for taking all the criticism that has been levelled at her for her role in this musical. She seems to have risen above it all and is honing the musical theatre craft, and I can see that with a few more musical theatre roles under her belt, I believe she will be a credible musical theatre performer.And she can hold the accent as well.
Andy Moss (Sam) was another nice surprise. having not been a follower of "Hollyoaks", Andy is a very natural actor for the stage and what a voice. You can tell he has had training at drama school because his phrasing is wonderful and very easy on the ear. The soundtrack can require the vocalist to perform powerfully as well as very quietly and controlled and Andy mastered both ranges. the role is a very physical one which also didn't seem to be a problem for him.
Playing Sam's best friend Carl, the man behind Sam's murder, albeit accidental, is Sam Ferriday. Another wonderful lead and yet another very powerful singing voice and performer who has a long list of theatrical roles on his CV. A very talented and strong trio of leads, which is exactly what has made this musical the success it has been.
Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae, the medium who Sam contacts to save Molly, was just perfect. We all remember Whoopi Goldberg's brilliantly comical version, well Jacqui added her own eccentricities to the role. Being a session singer to some of the big soul and dance recording artists also did no harm as she has a belter of a voice to match her comic acting talents. This medium was a BIG success.
A talented supporting cast included Leo Sene (Willie, who killed Sam), James Earl Adair (Hospital Ghost) and Garry Lee Netley as the subway ghost, who by the way was really disturbing and frightening.
The set was fairly simplistic and the special effects didn't have the same effect as when I first saw them on stage, but they still add to the enjoyment of the overall show. In past productions when Sam first walked through the door, it was facing the audience and it actually seemed as if he had walked through a solid door. this production had the door not facing the audience so didn't have the same effect.
What i did love was the rapidity of the substitute bodies when the "spirits" rose from them. I for one didn't notice the substitute as my eyes had been drawn away from that part of the stage by the clever and cunning direction of the play by Bob Tomson. There are bits that Bob has taken out from the original touring production, but by doing so has not weakened the plot or the performance.
Loved the soundtrack, which of course included "Unchained Melody" and one of my favourite musical theatre songs "With You". Other highlights are "Here Right Now", "I Had A Life" and "I'm Outta Here".
All three leads are wonderful and the ensemble and supporting actors did a fantastic job, making this a big crowd pleaser. For those who ex spectred Sarah to be as bad as some of her critics made out well they didn't stand a ghost of a chance of seeing that because this production really made me believe in her and the cast and definitely lifted my spirits.
"Ghost" is materialising every day this week at the Nottingham Theatre Royal until Saturday 3 December 2016.

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