Ghost: The Musical

Ghost: The Musical
Edinburgh Playhouse
21st-26th November

Most people are familiar with the 1990 movie Ghost starring Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze, yet many will not be aware of its adaptation into a musical which first hit the West End in 2011. It has become increasingly popular in the musical theatre industry to adapt movies into stage musicals, Legally Blonde is just one example. However, Ghost: The Musical is a particularly ambitious and, unfortunately, in its translation onto the stage it loses the pace and emotion of the movie, failing to live up to its name.

Set in New York City, Ghost: The Musical opens with Sam and Molly moving in to their new Brooklyn apartment, setting up the dynamic of the couple quite nicely. However, after Sam’s untimely murder whilst returning home from an event, he finds himself trapped between this world and the next, unable to communicate with Molly to warn her that she’s in danger. Sam subsequently enlists the help of the ‘phoney’ psychic Oda Mae, who is the only person able to interact with him after inheriting her family’s ‘gift.’

Whilst Ghost: The Musical does follow roughly the same plot as the movie, overall it was quite disappointing, with the fairly benign opening being characteristic of the musical’s slow pace. Nevertheless, the technical and set design dazzled the audience and kept my attention on the stage. Nick Richings’ lighting design subtly, yet beautifully, recreated illusions of rainy New York weather, and the pale blue light on the ghosts enhanced their ethereal nature. Similarly, the set, designed by Mark Bailey, mainly consisted of various New York City buildings, ranging from Sam and Molly’s apartment to the bank where Sam worked. However, my favourite setting was that of the subway station with the subway train itself smoothly allowing the actors to go from being outside to inside the carriage, something you really have to see to appreciate.

Beyond the aesthetically pleasing technical side of Ghost: The Musical, there is not as much to be dazzled by. Whilst Sarah Harding received a lot of criticism on social media for her portrayal of the lead role Molly, it must be said that she wasn’t that bad. Her vocals in ‘With You’ were particularly impressive and heartfelt, even if they did occasionally lack some tonal variation. However, the real problem was that Harding’s portrayal of Molly lacked depth and was often too wooden to convey the emotions required for that role. Most notably, the response to Sam’s death was not filled with enough emotion to really convey the reality of the situation, some of these bigger problems were also slightly worsened by the fact that her accent varied a little too much to be convincing.

Opposite Harding was Hollyoaks star Andy Moss who did manage to convey the playful yet, perhaps slightly emotionally stunted, character of Sam who can only bring himself to say the word ditto. However, whilst Moss’ vocals were just as good as Harding’s, his character also appeared to lack some depth, but this may be due to the fact that neither Molly nor Sam are characters which translate well onto the stage.

Although Sam and Molly may be difficult to translate onto stage, this was certainly not a problem for Jacqui Dubois, whose comedic portrayal of Oda Mae was fantastic. Considering Whoopi Goldberg’s iconic performance in the movie, Dubois did well to fill her shoes and her performances of ‘Are You a Believer?’ and ‘I’m Outta Here’ were the real showstoppers of the musical, making Dubois the highlight of the show.

With plenty of original music and lyrics written by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, it is almost disappointing that the most memorable song in the show was ‘Unchained Melody,’ originally a song by The Righteous Brothers. Whilst the musical does make a nice use of this song at multiple different points during the show, also performed brilliantly by Harding and Moss; the famous pottery scene from the movie, in which the song features, did not make quite the same appearance in the musical. It was adapted to make it a more comedic rather than sexy moment, and I can’t decide whether or not this was a good decision, it was certainly unexpected but the audience seemed to enjoy it.

Whilst it is admittedly Ghost is a challenging movie to successfully translate into a stage musical, the technical team did a good job at making it aesthetically pleasing which partially compensated for some bad performances. If you’ve seen the movie, it is possible that you’ll be disappointed by Ghost: The Musical, but it is important to contraindicaciones del viagra en adultos mayores keep an open mind, it just wasn’t my cup of tea. Nevertheless, you will not walk out of Ghost: The Musical with songs stuck in your head, nor will you be singing them all the way home.

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Heather Daniel

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