REVIEW ROUNDUP: Ghost the Musical, Directed by Matthew Warchus, Opens Pre-West End Engagement in Manchester
With music and lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, and a book by Bruce Joel Rubin, the show is based on the movie of the same name and tells the story of a man who is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and who is trying to communicate with his girlfriend through a phony psychic in the hope of saving her from his murderer.
The cast features Richard Fleeshman (Sam Wheat), Caissie Levy (Molly Jensen), Sharon D Clarke (Oda Mae Brown), Andrew Langtree (Carl), Ivan de Freitas (Willie Lopez), Adebayo Bolaji (Subway Ghost), Mark Pearce (Hospital Ghost), Lisa Davina Phillip (Clara) and Jenny Fitzpatrick (Louise).
The ensemble includes Jaygan Ayeh, Paul Ayres, Darren Carnall, Rochelle Neil, Michael Peters, Laura Selwood, Yemie Sonuga, Spencer Stafford, Phillipa Stefani, Jez Unwin and Sally Whitehead.
The creative team includes Rob Howell (scenic and costume design), Christopher Nightingale (musical supervision and arrangements), Paul Kieve (illusions), Hugh Vanstone (lighting design), and Simon Baker (sound design).
Local publications and the online Whatsonstage.com have filed largely favorable reviews following the musical's try-out opening.
Among the reviews are:
Manchester City Life
Ghost The Musical
"It's now a dramatic love story thriller musical with absolutely killer state-of-the-art staging that manages to recreate virtually all the scenes from the film to produce a show with a gripping, edge-of-the-seat, storyline - you really do want to know what happens next."
"Sharon D Clarke, in the Whoopi Goldberg role of the comic fake psychic, has one show-stopping number and she grabs hold of her other scene-stealing moments with glee."
"Ghost is no apparition - it's the full five-star package and then some."
Manchester Evening News
Ghost: Richard Fleeshman has the muscle, but Sharon D Clarke steals the show
"Coronation Street's moody teen, Craig Harris, aka Richard Fleeshman, has morphed into a tanned, muscly beefcake.
"And when he peels off his top for a steamy clinch with his co-star, Caissie Levy, the sight of his rippling torso causes something of a flutter among the ladies in the audience."
"Yet the ultimate scene-stealers are the amazing special effects - like Sam disappearing through a door. Illusion expert Paul Kieve, who worked on Harry Potter 3, helped create the jaw-dropping visuals which make this a true 21st century musical where technical wizardry vies with the cast and the score for top billing."
This Is Lancashire
Review: Ghost- The Musical @ Opera House, Manchester
"The show is even better than the film, it's the emotional equivalent of being hit by a heavyweight boxer and even the most incurable cynics will be deeply moved by what they see and hear."
"[Fleeshman] has a stunning vocal range and there's a natural chemistry between him and the lovely Caissie Levy, who plays Wheat's partner, Molly."
"Sharon D Clarke is loads of fun as larger than life psychic Oda Mae Brown and she has one of the purest soul voices I think I've ever heard. "
Ghost the Musical (Manchester)
"Having [Bruce Joel] Rubin on board means that director Matthew Warchus is loyal to the original and, at times, slavishly so. But there are some nice touches that set it apart. "Unchained Melody" is used as Sam and Molly's song, far from an over-blown set piece, it is a homage and works wonderfully well. The plot also suits the musical genre and fits like a glove, exploring grief, deception, comedy and love conveyed as that one true thing you find with a soul mate."
"The show is not without it's faults which will hopefully be ironed out before the forthcoming London transfer. Some scenes seem perfunctory, the potter's wheel scene for example serves no purpose here, having driven the film narrative forwards."
"On the plus side Levy is in great voice and can be tender one minute and as angry as Alanis Morrisette the next, however many of her songs fade into one as they are incredibly samey. "Suspend My Disbelief" and "Here Right Now" stand out though in her very capable hands."