I’ve been mulling over my review of Ghost the Musical for over a week. I’m a publisher’s worst nightmare. I must admit I am probably the only person in the world who has not watched the film. Leading up to opening night I struggled to decide whether I should watch it or not. I ended up going with the latter. I am going to let the stage show speak for itself. Ghost is a classic movie with heartfelt emotions which are emphasised through close-ups and an intimacy between the audience and the performance only a screen can emphasise. So why is the musical so successful?
From the moment the music began I was surprised. Visual effects were used to bring the audience closer. Shadows thrown across sheer screens, a change in lighting, the fluidity of the set changes all worked to emphasise action. The allusive door scene, where Sam’s ghost disappears through a door, still leaves me questioning how. One scene with the Subway Ghost on a train was visually appealing but also quite vague. You are aware Sam’s ghost and the Subway Ghost are on the train and objects are flying everywhere, Sam gets thrown around, but you can’t see a lot of what is happening. Although I was frustrated it wasn’t clear, it added to the suspense of the scene.
The first two numbers, although they were performed well, were vocally dull. It wasn’t until ‘More’ was performed that my interested was grabbed. The classic, cheesy musical dance numbers are an ultimate hit in my books. The ensemble stole the focus and held it. My favourite scene in the show was during ‘Are You a Believer?’ where the character of Oda Mae was introduced. She was the highlight of the show. The contrast between her bubbly, upbeat songs and Molly’s slow grieving numbers were needed to keep the story moving. Wendy Mae Brown was unintentionally the star of the show and I loved every minute she was on stage.
The cast is extremely talented and diverse. I’ve seen Rob Mills and Jemma Rix perform before and I was impressed with their work. Although I feel Rix was not challenged vocally enough in the role, her depiction of Molly was done well. It was nice to see her focus on transmitting emotionally. David Roberts and David Denis both surprised me in the second act as their characters were revealed.
Overall I was surprised by this musical. It wasn’t quite how I imagined it but I still enjoyed it. But why is it successful? Catherine Bray mentioned in the program, “with a musical, you don’t have close-ups: the songs are your close-ups, the songs are what draw you into the heart of this story”. I couldn’t agree more. For more information head to the Ghost the Musical website. Hurry, it leaves Perth soon!
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