Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of taking in the matinee performance of Ghost The Musical, currently playing at the Manchester Opera House, in a welcome return to the place where the magic all started.
My first time seeing the show was a fantastically positive experience for me – I saw it in the West End not long after opening, and as you can see from my review, it moved me an awful lot and for a number of reasons.
Cast wise, I was very fortunate to see the original dream team (consisting of some of my musical theatre icons!) and so it was with a little trepidation that I prepared to see new casting, having fallen so badly for the original production and characters.
It was, therefore, with a massive sense of expectation that I took my seats in the stalls (G25), told Max that we were in for a huge treat, and I waited impatiently for the curtain to go up.
Stewart Clarke as Sam Wheat absolutely made me fall in love all over again. He played the character really well, and got the emotion across fantastically, I thought. Those rippling muscles definitely helped shape this opinion, but there were definitely brains to the character as well as brawn!
Molly was absolutely owned by Rebecca Trehearn, I thought, and I found myself able to see past the continued ‘oh no, my boyfriend is dead’ songs much easier than I do on the original cast recording, largely owing to the stage presence of the character, which really added to the performance.
Wendy Mae Brown (as Oda Mae Brown) was absolutely sensational. It took me a little while to warm to her, especially as Sharon D. Clarke – who created the role – is such an icon of mine, however by Act Two I was absolutely smitten!!!
I found that I really liked the Carl in this production (David Roberts) – he was definitely my favourite of the Carl’s that I have seen (and the hunkiest to boot too, ha!!). His acting really came across well, and you really believed his epic slide in to desperation just that little bit more.
In terms of the ensemble, everyone was great as well. I’d especially like to shout out Keisha Atwell who played Louise (seriously, watch her during ‘Are You A Believer?’, you’ll nearly die laughing!!) and also to Lewis Griffiths whose dancing abilities really stood out on the stage (Griffiths is also the cover Carl).
With regards to the technical side of this show, this is always what is going to help get bums on seats. The touring production does a very admirable job of setting the stage up and I don’t think that you lose too much from the original West End production. Scene changes are still very slick and broader areas such as the lighting have really been well thought through.
I was one of the few people who really loved the axed number ‘Ball of Wax’ and so, for me, the first act definitely lost something for not having it in. I wasn’t so much a fan of the replacement song that they used. Max, however, loved the new song, having never seen the show before, and he said that was when Act One became interesting to him, so I guess it’s a case of different people, different strokes. The subway ghost track in Act Two is still one of my most loathed things in musical theatre however, I really do dislike it (thankfully it is only about 90 seconds).
Right, now I’M OUTTA HERE, but before I go, I just want to implore you one last time with THREE LITTLE WORDS to see this show whilst it is HERE RIGHT NOW (sorry, couldn’t resist the puns!! ha!).
Ghost The Musical is currently touring the UK, and will be in Manchester at the Opera House until July 20th 2013. The show duration is 2 hours and 30 minutes (including interval) and ticketing information, along with all other production information, is available on the show’s official website.