Ghost the Musical - review

It’s been over 2 years since the Opera House played host to the World Premiere of Ghost the Musical and now it is back.

By Manchester's Finest | Last updated 9 July 2013

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It’s been over 2 years since the Opera House played host to the World Premiere of Ghost the Musical and now it is back where the magic began from 2 – 20th July.

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Based on the iconic 1990 movie the show brings you the timeless fantasy about the power of love. When Sam Wheat gets murdered in the street he stays trapped as a ghost between this world and the next trying to communicate with girlfriend Molly through a phoney psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer.

Back in 2011 when Ghost the Musical opened it caused a huge stir amongst audience and critics alike through its use of high tech special effects and stage illusions. It hailed a new era for theatre and for most this was a warm welcome. When it later transferred to London for its West End run reviews were mixed; audiences loved it but ‘old school’ critics just didn’t ‘believe’. Well, a Broadway run and now a UK tour under its belt I think its fair to say this musical is here to stay.

Starring in the lead roles made famous by Demi Moore and the late Patrick Swayze are Rebecca Trehearn (Molly) and Stewart Clarke (Sam). Trehearn ‘s blonde curly locks are a far cry from Demi’s dark cropped ‘do and Clarke more resembles new Superman Henry Cavill than Swayze with his dark muscular frame…but together they look great and it works. There’s strong vocals from the pair and a heart-wrenching solo from Trehearn, “With You’ which managed to touch even the hardest of hearts in the audience.

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Wendy Mae Brown as unorthodox psychic Oda Mae Brown injects a big dose of humour into the show proving she didn’t just get the part because she shares the same surname as her character. Wendy is funny to the core and can totally belt out a tune. She may be filling a mammoth pair of shoes in the wake of Whoopi Goldberg’s Oscar-winning performance as Oda Mae but Wendy manages to put her own stamp on the role, and in doing so has the audience in stitches.

Designer Rob Howell’s use of digital screen backdrops in the production are genius. Huge screens display images of New York and Wall Street making the wooden scenery we are used to seeing rolled in and out look dated and the question arises ‘why hasn’t this been done sooner’? Illusionist Paul Kieve supplies a plethora of mind-blowing special effects that are testament to the success of this show. I defy anyone not to marvel as they witness Sam jump through doors, disappear and even take over Oda Mae’s body!

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

Image Sean Ebsworth Barnes

If you are a die hard fan of the film do not worry, you will not be disappointed as very little has been changed here (apart from the addition of songs of course). ‘Yes’, there IS the Potters Wheel Scene and ‘Yes’ Unchained Melody DOES feature in it and ‘Yes’ the word ‘ditto’ IS in the script.

This is a truly mesmerising production that manages to seamlessly combine the stage and cinematic experience – catch it in Manchester whilst you can!

Top Tip:
There was a huge amount of sniffing that could be heard as we reached the finale and many a tear-stained face leaving the Opera House as the curtain fell, so don’t forget to take the tissues and wear waterproof mascara!
Listing information:

Ghost the Musical
Manchester Opera House, Quay Street, Manchester M3 3HP
Tuesday 2 to Saturday 20 July 2013
Box Office: 0844 871 3018*