Ghost the Musical
THIS SHOW IS CLOSED. YOU CAN NOT BOOK TICKETS.
Ghost the Musical is the brand new West End sensation that is currently causing a buzz in London’s media for its innovative take on the Oscar Award-winning film of the same name. The cult romantic film of the 1990s has been adapted for the stage by a team of renowned theatre professionals and has started running at the Piccadilly Theatre to expectant audiences and fans of the original film. The musical focuses on the relationship between Sam and Molly, a young professional couple living in New York who appear to have it all, including each other. Unfortunately, things are not as perfect as they seem and one night Sam is brutally murdered on the streets when walking back to the pair’s apartment, leaving a distraught Molly behind. However although Sam is dead his spirit remains trapped in a twilight realm between the present and the afterlife, wandering the streets of New York and unable to communicate with Molly, who cannot see or hear him. Eventually he runs into a fraudulent psychic called Oda Mae Brown, who is more perturbed than anyone to realise that she can hear the voice of Sam convincing her to help him talk to Molly, whom he has now realised faces terrible danger that only he can save her from…
Fresh from a six-week run in the North of England at the Manchester Opera House, Ghost the Musical boasts a breathtaking array of special effects to rival other spectacular West End shows such as Wicked, with the production team having worked with illusionists and set designers to depict the spirit realm in ways that will leave audiences scratching their heads and amazed! The set is made up of a series of huge LED screens that effortlessly recreate the bustle of a New York street or have Wall Street numbers cascading down them, and the show includes all the much-loved moments from the original film including the famous potter’s wheel scene. In addition, music is by the Grammy Award-winning Glen Ballard and ex-Eurythmic Dave Stewart, who have created a score of moving power ballads that perfectly encapsulate the couple’s anguish. This heartfelt extravaganza is sure to strike a chord with romantics everywhere, as Sam and Molly set out to prove that there are some kinds of love that can endure through any barrier, including that between life and death.
If you would like to experience the show’s unique blend of glittering spectacle and heartfelt emotion for yourself, you can find information on how to book tickets for the Piccadilly Theatre production on our tickets page and details of where to book the best seats in our seating guide.
The main cast members of Ghost the Musical feature a mixture of musical professionals and new additions to the West End stage. Ex-Coronation Street actor and singer Richard Fleeshman is recreating Patrick Swayze’s role of Sam, and Broadway actress Caissie Levy will be joining him as the other half of the star-crossed couple in the role of Molly. Sharon D. Clarke is an Olivier Award-nominated actress with an impressive musical CV, and she will be bringing the character of psychic Oda Mae Brown to life on the stage. Finally, Andrew Langtree is an experienced West End professional who will be taking the role of Sam’s colleague Carl.
Show Lengths and Times
Ghost the Musical opened on the 24th June 2011 at the Piccadilly Theatre in London, and is currently booking tickets until the 28th January 2012. Performances take place every night between Monday and Saturday at 7.30pm, with a matinee show every Thursday and Saturday at 2.30pm. There are no performances on Sunday. The running time for the musical is 2 hours and 30 minutes with one interval.
With the influx of blockbuster Hollywood films that have been turned into musicals filling the West End in recent years, including stage adaptations of classics such as Dirty Dancing, Singin’ In The Rain and Billy Elliot, it came as little surprise when another critically acclaimed, Oscar-winning movie nestled into London’s Theatreland in 2011. With a book written by Bruce Joel Rubin who won an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay in 1991, the show is very similar to the 1990 movie in terms of script, and follows couple Molly and Sam, the latter of who is murdered, becoming captured between this world and the next. Drama and tragedy soon follow as Sam follows his former lover, only to discover that she is in danger. Unable to contact the living world, he reaches out to a medium, Oda Mae Brown, to try to warn Molly.
Oda Mae Brown was played by Whoopi Goldberg in the movie, winning an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role. Likewise in this stage adaptation, Sharon D. Clarke who originated the role as the eccentric psychic, has been nominated for Best Performance in a Supporting Role at the 2012 Olivier Awards. Injecting the much-needed influx of humour into Ghost the Musical, Clarke’s vocal ability, wild costumes and entertaining lines make her stand out, just as Whoopi did in the film, although her last solo number ‘I’m Outta Here’ was possibly the weakest song in the show, inviting tackiness onto the stage for a good 5 minutes more than what was needed to cheer up the audience.
The two central characters, Sam and Molly, are performed by Mark Evans and Siobhan Dillon, respectively. As the originating actors in the roles have taken their talents across the Atlantic to star in the Broadway version of the musical, it seems that the casting team have hired those who closely resemble them. The new Molly again has long, blonde locks, a far cry from the dark crop that Demi Moore sported in the movie which probably wouldn’t have translated on the stage so well, especially for those watching at the back of the theatre where tiny details make a huge difference and a girl in dungarees and boy-short hair may have looked, well, like a boy. Mark Evans is eerily similar to Richard Fleeshman, originator of the role, in looks, but both Evans and Dillon give brilliant performances, adding raw emotion and anguish to their impressive vocals, enabling the audience to feel some of the pain that their characters are experiencing.
The music was something I had been looking forward to hearing, as it was written by Eurythmic star Dave Stewart along with Glen Ballard – brought to recognition for co-writing the Michael Jackson song Man In The Mirror. Overall I was impressed and enjoyed songs such as Here Right Now and I Had a Life, although I could hear a tinge of 80s rock influence in much of the music, unsurprising considering its writers. The classic Unchained Melody, featured in an iconic part of the movie, is also heard more than once in the stage adaptation, which is sure to satisfy lovers of the movie.
Special effects played a big part in Ghost, and are by Magic Circle member Paul Kieve, who was the illusionist for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. With actors disappearing through doors, entering and leaving the stage in the blink of an eye and soaring in slow-motion to the ceiling of a make-shift subway carriage, I was incredibly impressed with how well it was done. Although my seat was a little too far towards the back, I wouldn’t have wanted to be right at the front either, for fear that these special effect’s secrets would be revealed!
As much as Ghost the Musical was uplifting, emotional and fantastic to watch, there were unfortunately some scenes and ideas which dampened on the show, making it hard to praise every aspect. A tap-dancing ghost enters soon after Sam has died to cheer him up and welcomes him to the ghostly world he is now a part of, yet this happens so soon after that it takes away from the poignancy of this moment, shifting attention away from the murdered young man to an older man who was once part of a performing duo. I felt that it made light of this situation as Sam lay in a hospital bed, and the tackiness of his little tap-dancing routine was not welcome in my eyes. Maybe producers felt that the audience would need to see a light-hearted scene not even five seconds after the emotional climax as Sam dies, but I felt that it was too soon and didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the show.
Ghost the Musical has transferred well onto the stage, and twenty two years after the movie opened, it can be said that the special effects are better in the musical! With a good score, brilliant performances by the leading cast and interesting scenery – mostly done with digital screens – this strange storyline of a man trapped between Earth and Heaven is captivating, passionate, funny and emotional, and you will surely be in high spirits when walking out of the Piccadilly Theatre, back into the living world…
Recommended: Yes, for those who are fans of the movie or for those who love to see impressive visual effects.
Where I sat: Towards the back of the Stalls, row R seat 15. I was directly in the centre of the auditorium but I was a little too far back and felt quite cut-off from the action on stage at times. The Royal Circle overhung over this part of the Stalls and I couldn’t see the top of the stage, though this wasn’t too much of a problem. I think that seats about 7 rows in front of mine would have been perfect.
Alice Bzowska – 27/03/2012
“Sharon D Clarke has an overwhelming personality and a richly expressive voice.”
Michael Billington, The Guardian
“With superb special effects and engaging performances, Matthew Warchus’s production certainly has plenty of dazzle.”
Henry Hitchings, The Evening Standard
“It is a highly entertaining musical that looks set to keep audiences laughing, gasping and sniffing back tears for a long time to come.”
Charles Spencer, The Telegraph
“Paul Kieve’s illusions thrill as our hero, say, melts into thin air…it’s all seamlessly inventive and full of synaesthetic pleasures.”
Paul Taylor, The Independent
If you want to get a taste of how Ghost the Musical looks on stage, be sure to check out the Ghost-related videos we’ve picked out in the section below!
The official trailer for the London production:
Audience reactions after the show at the Piccadilly Theatre:
The stars of the musical perform Here Right Now at Abbey Road Studios:
Add Your Review!
Have you seen Ghost the Musical at London’s Piccadilly Theatre since it opened in May 2011? Do you agree with the critics’ reviews or did the stage adaptation not live up to the movie version? Please add your review in the box below to help fellow theatregoers in deciding if Ghost the Musical is for them!