Ghost - The Review

Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester. 0844 847 2295.

By Manchester's Finest | April 14th '11

Where: Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester. Box Office 0844 847 2295.

When: Until May 14th 2011

Website: www.ghostthemusical.com

What: Oscar winning film GHOST is put to music in this breathtaking and high tech show.

It cost nearly 6 million pounds to bring to the stage but GHOST The Musical has proved it was worth every penny of it. Based on the iconic 90s film starring the late Patrick Swayze and Hollywood actress Demi Moore, the show takes musical theatre to a new level with its mix of special effects and haunting melodies penned by award-winning Glen Ballard and Eurythmics Dave Stewart.

The story is a fantasy about the power of love; where the lead character Sam Wheat is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next trying to communicate with his girlfriend Molly through a phoney Psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer.
Fans of the film will be pleased to know not a lot has been changed in it’s transferral from screen to stage although some scenes occur in a different chronological order, which is good for keeping the audience on their toes.

A stunning performance is given from Caissie Levy as Sam’s girlfiend Molly. The Canadian born actress, most recently seen as Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, plays the role with a truth and emotion that has you transfixed throughout. Her rendition of ‘With You’ before the end of the first half is breathtaking as she belts out each note with passion and perfection. I would definitely bet on the fact that we will see Caissie getting a nod next year at prestigious theatre awards, the Oliviers.

Former Coronation Street star Richard Fleeshman gives his best performance to date as the despairing and driven protagonist, Sam. Despite my prior reservations at his casting, thinking him ‘too young’, onstage he shows a maturity that proves the Manchester born actor has definitely ‘come of age’.
Comedy comes in the form of Psychic Ode Mae Brown, played by Holby City’s Sharon D. Clarke-a theatre veteran who has previously appeared in Chicago and Hairspray. Armed with some wicked one liners there are times she truly steals the show and provides a well needed laugh in what could become an emotional tear-fest. Completing the quartet of main roles is Emmerdale’s Andrew Langtree, as calculating villain Carl Bruner, played with so much conviction that I overhead one woman say in the interval ‘Oh I can’t stand that slimy man’!

What makes the show so special though is the eye popping special effects which have you wondering ‘how did they do that’ long after you leave the theatre. Fleeshman jumps through doors, people, and at one point disappears right in front of your eyes-a real testament to illusionist Paul Kieve who has worked his magic on the production.

A big nod must go to Rob Howell who designed the set, which comprises of a series of video screens which move on and off stage projecting images of New York and Wall Street to name just a few. Their use creates the feeling the cast are stuck in a video game in parts (especially during the ‘Matrix-esque’ fight scenes in the Subway), which might sound a negative step to the old fashioned theatre goer, but believe me, this is a jaw dropping advancement that will see other productions follow suit.

Ghost The Musical runs till 14th May when it will have a break before opening at the West End’s Piccadilly Theatre on June 22nd, its home till 2012. Make sure you catch it whilst it’s here in Manchester as this is one show which truly has to be seen to be believed.

Visit the official website here for tickets.