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Ghost Hits All The Right Notes

Ghost the Musical

Devotees of late 80s / early 90s chick flicks have been spoiled at the Winter Gardens this autumn, with the extended run of Dirty Dancing followed this week by Ghost – The Musical. It was clear from discussion around me that many people had decided to attend both. As someone who associates Ghost largely with a slow burning Righteous Brothers track and a potters wheel I was pleased to share the views of those around me that this production was enjoyable and worthwhile.

One thing that rather surprised me from fairly early on in the proceedings was the fairly strong language and coarse subject matter on some occasions. A rather bawdy exchange about contagious diseases in a lift was followed by some rather colourful language and blasphemy, culminating in swearing nuns. This is in the context of a generally moralistic tale of course, but potential attendees offended by such content might want to be aware.

The initial happy couple tale alternated with some fast paced song and dance grounded in New York living, which provided an up beat counterpoint. As the plot developed there was the violent death of Sam was presumably expected by the majority of the audience, but it was done in a convincing manner and the supernatural nature of proceedings after that was generally handled very well.

Jacqui Dubois in Ghost the Musical
Jacqui Dubois in Ghost the Musical

Much of the humour of the production was provided by the character of Ona May Brown, both in the operating of her astrological clairvoyancy operation and in the scenes where she removes large sums from the bank to undermine the evil intentions of Sam’s colleague Carl Bruner.

I didn’t have a copy of the programme to hand, but I got the impression that a couple of the lead roles were being performed by understudies. This did not in any way detract from the evening, all vocal performances were strong and in both acts there was some excellent harmony work by the lead characters.

Whilst it might not be everybody’s main concern in a feel good production like this I was particularly taken by the quality of the set. Whereas Dirty Dancing for example, only really featured a couple of locations the space in Ghost functioned convincingly as an apartment, a tube station, an undesirable neighbourhood, an accident and emergency ward and the aforementioned clairvoyance booth. This relied on some fast paced scenery changes and was a credit to the production company.

As the story progressed to its happy ending and triumph of good over evil all the musical numbers were well received by the audience. Although earlier incarnations of this musical has had mixed reviews don’t let this put you off. The current offering is absorbing entertainment with strong singing which will satisfy diehard fans of the film whilst offering a decent night’s entertainment to those not already familiar with the Demi Moore / Patrick Swayze / Whoopi Goldberg version.

Ghost runs until Saturday 15 October. Tickets start at £19.50, and evening shows are at 7.30pm with matinee performances on Wednesdays and Saturdays.

Images courtesy of Matt Martin.

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