13-18 February 2017
Reviewed by Louise Watts
27 years ago, we were introduced to the film “Ghost” starring the late Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. The film was a huge hit and threw the Righteous Brothers hit Unchained Melody back to the top of the charts 25 years after its original release! I don’t know anyone of my age who doesn’t know the film and the relevance of the potter’s wheel!
Fast forward more than 20 years and “Ghost the Musical” is created. In 2011 the musical hit the West End followed a year later on Broadway, 5 years later and it is touring the UK.
I have always wanted to see Ghost the Musical but had been put off a little as I really wasn’t sure that it was possible to turn this iconic, romantic yet heart breaking film into an all singing, all dancing musical. Then I was offered the opportunity to review it and my decision was easy!
Last evening, my husband and I went to The Hawth theatre in Crawley to see Ghost the Musical. This theatre is local to us and we are frequent visitors. Parking is easy and free which is always a bonus. The theatre itself is a lovely size, big enough to feel the theatre atmosphere but small enough that there are no bad seats. The staff are always friendly and welcoming and the facilities are brilliant. There is a bar selling alcoholic and soft drinks and there are snacks and sweets available too. On this occasion, there was also a merchandise stall selling Ghost the Musical items. In the interval, you have the opportunity to purchase ice cream if you would prefer.
The show started as the film does with Sam and Molly having moved into a new home requiring some work. Sam’s friend and work colleague Carl is also present and you are quickly drawn into their close friendship… but things are not always as they seem. One evening having been to an art gallery where Molly was showing some of her creations, Sam is shot and sadly dies. However, instead of passing to the next life, he is stuck and can see everything that is happening around him but is unable to be seen or heard by anyone who is alive. As he discovers the truth about what really happened that night, he has no choice but to make Molly aware and try to keep her safe. To do this, he has to utilise the psychic skills of Oda Mae Brown, a charlatan psychic who is as scared as anyone when she realises that she actually does have the power to talk to people on the other side!! In an absolutely brilliant comical relationship the 2 of them eventually manage to get through to Molly and the truth prevails.
There were so many brilliant bits about this musical. I was interested to see how they were going to act the ghosts but the way it was done (and I don’t want to give anything away) was absolutely masterful and believable! The songs were written perfectly. My personal favourite was “Are you a believer” sung by the outstanding Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae along with Simbi Akanda and Tarisha Rommick as her sidekicks Clara and Louise. Jacqui’s performance as Oda Mae was faultless and she was by far the star of the show for me! Andy Moss who played Sam was excellent. Having seen him on the TV several times, I had no idea he could sing so beautifully. The dynamics between him and Carolyn Maitland who played Molly were so strong that you were completely sucked in to this heart-breaking storyline and by the end it was a struggle to hold back the tears! The gorgeous Sam Ferriday (Carl) put in an amazing performance and it is hard to comprehend someone so handsome being such a baddie! The whole cast were brilliant and the enthusiasm and dedication was obvious.
The set was nothing short of superb. It was simple, adaptable but most of all completely believable. The use of some illusions during the show worked well also. By the end of the performance I had put aside my own doubts about whether or not it was possible to do this film justice in a musical. It has everything that a musical should have… incredibly well written music and lyrics, an outstanding cast, a brilliant storyline and yet this also has a heart rending element too which makes it stand out above the rest for me. By no means did the jolly, funny side to this musical take anything away from the tragic underlying story and to achieve that is nothing short of sheer theatre brilliance!!
With Valentine’s Day upon us, I would thoroughly recommend this as an evening out for any couple but also as the perfect girlie night out too.
Tickets cost from £37.50 to £43 (booking fees may apply).
Ghost the Musical is at The Hawth in Crawley until 18 February 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 01293 553636.
The Hawth, Hawth Avenue, Crawley, Sussex, RH10 6YZ | 01293 553636