Saturday, 10 September 2016

Musical Review: Ghost the Musical on Tour

Ghost the Musical Poster
(Image source:AGT Tickets)

I have wanted to see Ghost the Musical for quite a long time now, ever since I first heard the song With You. It's such a beautiful, emotional song, and I fell in love with it that very first time, and every time I've heard it since, it would bring tears to my eyes. If this is the effect is has on me now, I wondered, how much more emotional would it be to see it in context of the musical? I'd also heard that it was really impressive to watch Sam, once he's a ghost, walk through walls, which was also a pull for my mum.

Last Sunday, my mum received an email with a deal to see Ghost the Musical on tour at New Wimbledon Theatre of Wednesday (7th September) for a steal, and as I was on annual leave, we decided to go. We made a day of it, getting there early to have a meal at the Wetherspoons opposite the theatre and mooching around the shops until it was time for the show. I was really excited; as I've said previously, I'm a huge fan of musical theatre, and was really eager for the show to start. And it was brilliant!

On their way back to their apartment one night, the young couple are attacked, and Sam is murdered. Molly is left alone and completely grief-stricken, but Sam is still around, a ghost. Sam discovers that his murder was a set up, and with the help of a fraudulent psychic Oda Mae Brown, who turns out not to be as much as a fraud as she thinks, Sam tries to warn Molly of the danger she's in.

The tour of the show stars Sarah Harding as Molly and Andy Moss as Sam. I don't know if it was because we saw a matinee or if she just wasn't available, but instead of Sarah Harding, we had the understudy for Molly, Kelly Hampson. Sometimes you go to see a musical for the actor/s playing the role/s as well as the musical itself, but if I'm honest, I'm not the biggest fan of Sarah Harding's voice, and Mum had read in reviews that she had trouble reaching some of the notes, so I was actually really pleased we were going to see Kelly Hampson. Hampson's voice is absolutely incredible; the clearest, purest sound, and was just so beautiful. I couldn't stop the tears from falling down my face as she sang With You, it was just the most beautiful version of that song I've heard.

The musical is based on the movie Ghost, written by the same man who wrote the movie, Bruce Joel Rubin. Even so, I tried to leave  my thoughts about the movie at the door; the movie isn't a musical, and the musical isn't going to have the special effects of a movie, they were going to be different. Saying that, the musical stuck so closely to the movie, I'm not sure if there are many scenes that were left out at all. But there is that iconic scene in the movie, with Sam and Molly at the potter's wheel while The Righteous Brothers' Unchained Melody plays. Ghost wouldn't be Ghost without that scene, and as the poster (above) includes the first few lines of the song, so I was expecting something similarly iconic. However, Sam only sings a little of the song in an attempt to make Molly smile after they've had a row. It's not the scene full of love I was expecting, and I felt a little disappointed. However, we do get the song much later in the musical, and it is even more powerful then. The lyrics take on a different meaning, and as Sam and Molly sing to each other, again, the tears were falling. This is the iconic scene for the musical, and it was just stunning.

I have to take a moment to mention Jacqui Dubois, who played Oda Mae Brown. Oh my god, that woman was amazing! Her voice is out of this world, so powerful as she belted out her songs, and her comic timing was perfect. I had forgotten just how funny Oda Mae is, but the musical turns the comedy up for her a little more, and she got more laughs in the musical than the movie. the character of Oda Mae is just a wonderful example of what happens when fantastic writing is teamed up with an incredible actress who knows how to deliver a line. Jacqui Dubois' Oda Mae was such a highlight to the show.

If there's anything negative to say about the musical, it's would be the moments when Sam, as a ghost, is watching Molly's conversations with Carl, Sam's best friend, played by Sam Ferriday. In case you haven't seen the movie or the musical, I won't give any spoilers, but Sam has reason to believe Carl's intentions with Molly are anything buy honourable. My problem with these scenes was that Sam didn't really do anything, apart from shout out things along the lines of, "Don't listen to him, Molly!" Our focus is supposed to be on Molly and Carl and their conversations, I can understand that, but to just have Andy Moss stand at the back of the stage looking anguished was a bit of a let down. Yes, we're supposed to be watching Molly and Carl, but we also want to see Sam's reaction to what he's seeing. I just think Andy Moss should have been given more to do during those scenes that wouldn't take too much attention away from Molly and Carl. These are important scenes; Sam has figured things out but is unable to do anything because neither of them can hear him, and he's bloody angry and terrified. He could have been pacing, running his hands through his hair, just something, rather than just standing their looking on in anguish. It just looked a little odd for him not to be doing anything.

Oh, and walking through the wall as a ghost? He actually walks through a door, but from where I was sitting, I could only see the door when it was opened. The door is at a 90 degree angle from the front of the stage, so when it was closed, I only saw the door frame. Those sitting on the left side of the theatre could probably see the door, and see Sam walk through it, but I only saw him on one side of the door frame and then on the other, and so didn't get to see the trick to be impressed by it. It's a tiny thing, and didn't spoil my overall enjoyment of the show, but when it's something that's talked about as being awesome, you would like to see it for yourself.

The musical overall is just amazing! I absolutely loved it, and I would highly recommend you going to see it if you get the chance. A really emotional, beautiful story.

Go to AGT Tickets for the Ghost the Musical tour schedule.

Ghost the Musical on Tour Poster
(Image source: AGT Tickets)
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