Ghost the Musical Review

Lyric Theatre, The Lowry, Manchester – 24th April 2017.  Reviewed by Julie Noller

I’m a 90’s girl, I remember being a teen and watching Ghost… even sobbing to ‘that scene’ with ‘that song’ so I expected a theatre full of middle aged women reliving their Patrick Swayze crushes. You know they say never assume? Well the theatre was packed but with old and young; male and female, so it goes to show that Ghost The Musical appeals to all. I wasn’t alone in my preparation of a supply of tissues, should my eyes decide to leak. There was plenty of chat before the performance started, excitement and anticipation was high.

I was dissapointed that contary to my previous visits to The Lowry, the stage wasn’t open for all to see the set, I have become accustomed to feasting my eyes in preparation. However upon a closer inspection (adjusting my glasses) I saw a hint of how ‘that’ song was to play an important role in the nights performance. Upon pointing out the words ‘oh my darling’ and ‘I’ve hungered for your touch’ to my sister, I found her reaching for the tissues already.

I don’t want to write a review retelling you a story you will undoubtedly already know. Instead I want to urge you to go and see it and ask if I can come too? For I don’t have enough words to express how much I loved it. From the musical numbers (credit to Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard for music and lyrics) with great choreography (credit to Alistair David) How could you see 2 characters moving aound the stage as if unaware of each other. My eyes and indeed ears were delighted with the scenes/songs where 3 characters could sing different songs with words that managed blend harmoniously together. I almost didn’t know where to look – The stage set up was impressive, how the scenery changed with great ease and speed, how props and furniture items were added or taken away in the flow of moving characters and it didn’t look odd or out of place but rather fitted. My dissapointment vanished obviously on reading those words and with the lifting of the curtain to see the characters of Sam (Andy Moss) Molly (Carolyn Maitland) and Carl (Sam Ferriday) introducing us to their new apartment and straight into the first musical number, this was going to be my kind of musical. Not altogether serious the audience giggled when Carl wiped off his shirt and someone loudly wolf whistled their approval.

I did find myself seeing Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze (especially in that red shirt) throughout. It was an amazingly good performance by all and so true to the film and Bruce Joel Rubins Original Screenplay. I heard a very definite audible intake of breath when Molly wheeled out her potters wheel. However after the interval Act Two began with a bang, a clash of thunder to be exact which perfectly awoke my senses and I found I was watching through fresh eyes, realising this is Ghost the Musical and not the film, it deserves its own pedestal. Ghost the Musical gelled together rather cleverly, you have romance with a little touch of raciness, as fits a young couple in love there is no pretence – doesn’t every girl want to be kissed and hear the magic word ‘ditto’ ? There’s fast paced songs and dance routines to counter any chance you may find it slow or too romantic. And for those seeking humour, well there’s plenty of that in the form of Oda Mae (the superb Jacqui Dubois ) Whoopi Goldberg would be delighted with the character she won her best supporting actress Oscar for. I have to say my favourite ghost was subway ghost played by Garry Lee Nettle, his booming voice was a tad reminiscent of Samuel L. Jackson.

After hints of that song including Molly turning on the radio with The Righteous Brothers playing, it was time to play homage be warned hankys may well be needed. Ok so there were moments where I thought those high notes were a struggle but being totally fair not many of us have the talent of Andy Moss to get up on stage and sing our hearts out for others enjoyment. I have to say the inhale of breath and emotion all around me filling the theatre was electric and I found myself looking around in wonder. Of course we all knew what would happen but that did not take anything away from this scene on the contary it may well have made it all the more special. There were more snuffles around me as the dry ice started to fill the theatre and a spot light lit us the audience for Sams departure. Incredibly moving and this years tear jerker to date.

Ghost is a timless story for us all, honestly I would and could rewatch this musical again and again. Watch it for many reasons; for love of a musical, romance, suspense, humour. It covers so many genres. I left happy to be surrounded by like minded people. Lot’s of eye drying appeared to be happening and those people not just smiling were quietly saying how brilliant it had been.

One last thing – Ghost the Musical, my tip – take along a hanky if attending with your wife/husband/partner it may just be the most chivalrous act you make all year.

*’That’ song – Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers.