Ghost is one of the 90s films that, in my opinion, should be left untouched so I was keen to find out how it would translate to the stage as a musical at The Liverpool Empire Theatre last night.
Ghost tells the story of Sam and Molly who have recently bought a new place in Brooklyn. They are madly in love and have a bright future ahead of them. That is, until Sam is shot as they are walking back from a gallery opening one night. But Sam struggles to reach heaven because he has some unfinished business to tend to when he discovers that his death was no accident. He enlists the help of medium Oda Mae Brown to help him tell Molly that she’s in great danger.
Molly (Carolyn Maitland) and Sam (Andy Moss) were believable as a happy couple with their whole lives to live, laugh and love with one another and shared two beautiful duets with one another in the first half. Seeing Molly struggle after his death is heart wrenching and Maitland’s rendition of With You? brought tears to my eyes- a very powerful moment that was the epitome of losing someone you love.
The stand out performance for me was Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae. She was blessed with the best lines, as Whoopi Goldberg was in the movie, but her scenes were the light relief we needed in the midst of a very moving storyline. ‘Are You A Believer?’ And ‘I’m Outta Here’ were particularly fitting for her character and the scene. She breathed humour and life into the performance and had the audience chuckling with her animated facial expressions and comedic timing.
The way the ‘other worldliness’ was executed in the musical was nothing short of exquisite. I was intrigued to find out how the scenes that relied on special effects in the film would play out on stage. Everything was subtle and perfectly timed to make you believe in heaven, hell, ghosts and possession.
I was relieved that ‘Unchained Melody’ was not exhausted in the repertoire. Instead, some of the lyrics and the iconic theme tune were weaved into other songs throughout.
Ghost had the right balance of sticking to the original story but not copying the movie scene for scene. As the original music was intermingled with the delicate sounds of the iconic love song- it brought something new to story we have all come to know and love.
I have to admit, it took some time for me to get used to the idea that one of my favourite films had been turned into musical. In all honesty, I wasn’t sure at first- but on reflection it boasted just enough of the movie alongside the brand new music to have the best of both worlds- no pun intended.