GHOST THE MUSICAL
Knutsford Musical Theatre Company
Director: Ben Ireson
Musical Director: Michael J. Scott
Choreographer: Alexandra Howarth
In March 2011, “Ghost” opened in Manchester. After some rewrites, this film-to-stage show opened in the West End in June of the same year. Ghost is a different kind of musical: it is a multimedia experience with a full range of language, lighting, sound and special effects.
Every aspect of the show is just as important as each other; everything has to work in unity or there isn’t a show. The creative team excelled with sumptuous lighting and complementary sound designs. There was a clever set, ingenious special effects, and an amazing video design. The complete mix was quite spectacular. All the imaginative innovative presentation came from members of this talented theatre company. The production felt like a film.
The SM and crew kept the running of the show tight, with each scene change flowing seamlessly into the next. There were no missed timings, all the multiple layers followed through like a well-oiled machine.
The character presentation, from hair and make-up to costumes said something about each character. The slick, black-power suits of the corporate jungle made a strong impact showing New York’s frantic, fast-paced lifestyle.
The director achieved heights of presentation that harnessed all the component parts of the story all adding the drama to this romantic fantasy thriller. The energy and passion of the cast in their story telling of enduring love enthralled the audience.
Robotic style dance routines were another dramatic brick in this technical visionary wall. They were skilfully executed: it was ensemble work at its best.
All the music was soulful and classy, from up-beat numbers to beautiful ballads, including the classic, “Unchained Melody”. The songs are sparingly peppered throughout the show which allows for a greater dramatic impact. All the musical interpretation was so well delivered.
Cameo roles are important and are fundamental to the plot development. Hospital Ghost (Jonathan Hall) and Subway Ghost (Andrew Dolan) convincingly set Sam’s evocative voyage into a parallel world after a botched mugging by Willie Lopez and then being shot. K.Ellis, as lowlife Lopez, gave an assured performance.
After the intensity of this drama the mood needed lifting. Enter phony psychic, Oda Mae Brown. Heather Baker, as the sassy Miss Brown, was a powerhouse, amusing the audience with her barraging dialogue delivery. In the story, Sam needed to speak to his wife, and Oda Mae finds out that she does have the power to speak with the dead Sam. This was proven through humorous exploits.
Everyone’s lives are changed because of the criminal activities of Carl Bruner, Sam’s co-worker and friend. Gabriel Walker, as Carl, had a likeable presence but as the story unfolded, he soon became a desperate man. The metamorphosis from friend to trying to take over Sam’s life and Molly, the love of Sam’s life, was impressively achieved.
The handsome and attractive Sam and Molly were emotionally portrayed by Andrew Dunn and Nickie Simms. Nickie gave a performance from the heart; her vocal prowess was captured in the haunting, “With You”. Andrew gave a striking performance with vocal excellence.
Sam’s supernatural presence, and Molly’s grief, were tentatively explored, raising the question “Believe”.