Terry Wills has seen a… you can guess the rest.
“How did they do that?”… “Wasn’t it great?” …”Never seen anything like it.”
These, plus similar comments, were being asked by an astonished audience as they left the Alexandra Theatre after experiencing a truly unique production.
Twenty years ago Hollywood discovered they had a smash hit movie on their hands when Patrick Swayze played the role of a ghost who’d returned to warn his love struck lover, Debi Moore, that she was being pursued by a villain whose desire was to take her for every dollar.
But how could he contact her? Everyone knows that once you’re dead that’s it. In desperation murdered Sam Wheat (Stewart Clarke) turns to physic medium Oda Moe Brown (Wendy May Brown) a fraudster who acknowledges that she is a trickster and is astonished in this instance to discover she does possess the unique gift.
Together they set out too prove that Sam was, and always would be, the only person in his girlfriend Molly’s life, in the process projecting villain Carl (David Roberts) into the dark side of life.
To transfer a Ghost movie into a stage production was a daunting prospect. If mistakes are made ina film scenes can be reshot until they are perfect. Naturally with a stage production complex special effects can go wrong.
However the Full House audience were treated to an astonishing array of special effects that led to my overheard opening remarks.
Chairs, books, and furniture moving around. Sam, after a series of failures, finally mastering the means to walk through closed doors, eventually projecting villain Carl to enjoy his long overdue just desserts.
Technical special effect abound. Flashing electrical images of New York. Sam attempting, and failing, time after time, until he eventually succeeds in convincing Molly he’ll always be there for her, however long it takes.
Ghost The Musical inevitably has a lively singing and dancing ensemble. The songs, all new apart from the much-loved Unchained Melody came over well. My only slight criticism is that at times the orchestra made it somewhat
difficult to identify sections of the lyrics. Individually Stewart Clarke, Rebecca Trehearn and Wendy May Brown play their roles to perfection, while David Roberts is a suitable scheming villain.
The unbreakable never ending love shared by Sam and Wendy was paramount throughout. Indeed as the curtain came down with Sam leaving for the life hereafter, I noticed many audience members delving into hand bags, searching for a tissue to wipe away rising tears.
This touring production of Ghost The Musical has been a smash hit up and down the country. It’s heart-warming and -breaking at the same time, and the story, complete with the very special effects will surely be enjoyed by those who enjoy a somewhat different musical offering.
Ghost the Musical is at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham, until 5th January. www.atgtickets.com