Ghost the Musical premiered in London in June 2011, and received a strong reaction from critics across the board. The production has been almost unanimously praised for its innovative stage illusions and elaborate set, as well as gaining praise for the strong performances by the lead actors and the power ballad heavy score by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard. We’ve gathered a cross-section of the London reviews to give you a taste of how the musical works on the stage.
“If you want to see the most immaculately precise spectacle on stage with its special effects that are marvellously magical to witness (just like fireworks) then this is a must-see. If you want to see a musical…The pop music in the show blasts away so that the lyrics are difficult to follow but then again….so is the melody….they all sound alike and Molly’s grief goes on from song to song.” BLANCHE MARVIN’S LONDON THEATREVIEWS read more.
“…It is hard to imagine a new cast succeeding the unbeatable combination of Fleeshman and Levy. His tall, Superman physique and her petite boho quality are perfectly matched, as are his soulful voice with her rock-tinged belt. In life, their chemistry sizzles; in death, their connection persists. Even without the careful and spectacular staging and excellent direction by Matthew Warchus, much of the magic of Ghost lies in this pairing.” WEST END GEEK, read more.
“Sharon D Clarke has been tapped as the ‘Show Stealer’ in Ghost The Musical…Clarke’s Oda Mae Brown, made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the original 1990 Academy Award nominated movie, is vibrant, funny and delightfully brazen… Yes, it’s moving – I heard lots of sniffles in the audience, but there’s also the magical story of believing in love that’s played out brilliantly by ex-Coronation Street heartthrob Richard Fleeshman (Sam) and Broadway regular Caissie Levy (Molly).” AFRIDIZIAK THEATRE NEWS, read more
Ghost the Musical is a romantic story of love triumphing over all.
Based on the famous 1990 film, and sticking very closely to its script, Ghost the Musical is a romantic story of love triumphing over all. When the film was released it became an instant classic, winning over the hearts of millions in an instant. Could the musical version live up to the film?
Certainly, it has stayed close to the original script. Set in Manhattan, banker Sam (Richard Fleeshman) and girlfriend Molly (Caissie Levy) are walking home from a night out when Sam is mugged and murdered. Sam then becomes a ghost, walking the streets of New York trying to get used to his new state. He discovers that he was killed by someone hired by his colleague Carl Bruner (Andrew Langtree), as he had been on the verge of exposing Carl’s involvement in money laundering. This has also put Molly in danger, and Sam needs to find a way to try and keep her safe. He realises he can do so via medium Oda Mae Brown (Sharon D Clarke), and they set out together to help warn Molly of the danger she is in. Carl is then killed, and Sam possesses Oda Mae’s body to allow him and Molly to be reunited one final time, before he leaves for the afterlife, his work on earth done.
I was half expecting to find the storylines altered in the transfer from screen to stage, but they stayed pretty much the same. The cast did a great job in recreating the magic of the Ghost movie on stage, and did it far more effectively than I would have imagined, with all the emotional power of the film brilliantly conveyed. I was sceptical about how well they would manage to do this, but my fears were unfounded. The music, stage effects and acting seemed to come together (much as in the film) to create just the right balance. Sharon D Clarke was particularly effective as Oda Mae Brown, and played her with the same comic approach that Whoopi Goldberg did in the film. I think that was essential to making the play work. She is the stand-out, memorable character in both productions, and helps to pull plotlines together and get laughs when they’re needed.
The other cast members all do a good job, and while Fleeshman and Levy may not have quite the magic that Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore did, they are both convincing actors with strong voices. The musical score tended to complement, rather than lead, the show – and that was a relief. Ghost would not have suited being turned into the kind of musical based around big showstoppers. Instead, it was understated ballads which perhaps got a little samey at times, but were certainly effective in helping to create the right atmosphere. What really created the atmosphere however, were the incredible special effects. State-of-the-art lighting and video projection made everything feel breathtakingly real as Sam walked through walls and through the air. Overall, a production that really does live up to the hype: a must for anyone who loved the film, and a great alternative to it for those who have yet to see it.
Add Your Review!
Have you already been to see the London production of Ghost the Musical at the Piccadilly Theatre since its opening on the West End stage this year? We want to know if you concur with the critics’ reviews or if you felt that the stage adaptation didn’t live up to your memories of the film. Share your opinions with other readers by leaving your review in the comments box below!