Review: Ghost The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre

Brought to life: Ghost
9 Aug 2014 @ 5.52 pm
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Brought to life: Ghost

  Ghost The Musical, Pick Me Up Theatre
  Joseph Rowntree Theatre, August 8

Move over Patrick Swayze, Ghost has a new heartthrob in the shape of Joe Mellor as Sam. And he has the voice to go with it.

It was with a little trepidation that I went to watch Ghost The Musical last night at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre. After all this is an iconic Nineties movie that I loved and never fails to reduce me to tears.

How would that translate into a musical on a small stage?

The movie has some amazing effects such as the out of body experiences, walking through doors and the light that the lead character Sam walks into at the end.

I shouldn’t have worried. What surprised me was how well the lighting and simple stage set worked at setting the scene throughout the show.

From walking in you’re presented with chalkboard quotes around the theatre: do take the time to read them. It’s a small touch but quite effective.

Dying too young was a major theme of the evening. The backdrop of the stage has various photos and messages projected on it before the start of the show, most of them being tributes to young people who have passed away.

The only criticism I would have of the show is that the actors portraying the dead played the role more like zombies than ghosts for me. That’s the only criticism and is possibly just a personal preference.

My daughter wasn’t as taken with the show but she’s never seen the movie, and I think that played a large part in it.

She did comment that she liked the character of Carl (Fraser Wilkinson), the apparent good guy who turns out to be the baddie.

At one point Sam picks up the guitar and serenades Molly (Lottie Henshall) with Unchained Melody. They had me from that point on. It was a beautiful interpretation.

ghost-review-pottery-wheelThe chemistry between the two was believable and heartwarming.

Molly looks very petite next to Sam, but it made for some beautiful effects through the show as she sang her heart out, with Sam a shadow standing behind her, just visible.

Many of the songs are contrasting melodies, and I Had A Life, which ends the first act, showcased Sam, Molly and Carl.

Their voices blended together and not one of them faltered as they all sang different lyrics.

Many of the stage sets comprised of lighting effects, be it the pouring rain, the hustle and bustle of the bank or just the loft window. They came into their own when various characters died.

My daughter also enjoyed the way the characters that died left their bodies. It was one of the film effects I thought they’d struggle with but it worked well.

Aside from the sadness of the story the humour introduced by the character of Oda Mae Brown (Emma Osman) was infectious.

Emma took on this difficult role and played it to perfection. I particularly loved her thigh high black PVC stripper boots in the second act.

Kudos to Emma for being able to dance around the stage in those beauties.

Overall this was an enjoyable performance, and yes, I bawled my eyes out at the end. What can I say; I’m a big softie.

I’d like to point out that several of the cast members were in tears watching the end as well.

Pick Me Up Theatre took an iconic movie and turned it into a stunning stage performance. Their clever use of the stage props and lighting helped the story flow and the singing surpassed my expectations.

A talented cast and production team brought this show to life.

  Ghost The Musical by Pick Me Up Theatre is at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre until August 16

  More details on the Pick Me Up Theatre website

  See also Musical version of hit Demi Moore movie Ghost to premiere in York