Perhaps one of the most well-known romantic stories of the late 20th century, Bill Kenwright’s Ghost: The Musical returns to Nottingham with a bang, showcasing some amazing talent and a unique reworking of the original storyline. While I would question some of the choice of actors within the production, overall it was an amazing production, and one that I would highly recommend.
If you’re (somehow) unaware, Ghost follows the story of Molly (Sarah Harding – yes, of Girls Aloud fame) and her boyfriend Sam (Andy Moss) who is shot and killed following a mugging gone wrong. He is left a ghost, caught between worlds, and only by enlisting the help of con-cum-psychic Oda Mae (Jacqui Dubois), Sam must unravel the mysteries of his death, figure out how his friend Carl (Sam Ferriday) is involved, and save Molly from the danger she is in.
“Mark Bailey stuns yet again with his amazing set design”
Perhaps most worthy of praise in this performance is the set design. Mark Bailey stuns yet again with his amazing set design, and manages to set the story among simple, yet exceedingly effective, settings; a series of moveable facades and a very simple set of props create all the different settings for this production, and proved very effective throughout.
“Carl’s character was immensely realistic and believable”
I also have great praise for the acting of several of the key characters; Garry Lee Netley (Subway Ghost), Sam Ferriday (Carl) and Jacqui Dubois (Oda Mae) all gave their characters an immense depth, and seemed to make them their own. The Subway Ghost, though a relatively small role, was perhaps one of the characters I became most emotionally invested in, despite his tiny amount of performance time. Similarly, Carl’s character was immensely realistic and believable, and possibly my favourite in the production as a whole.
“Rather confusingly, some of the best singers seemed to be given the smallest roles”
Also worth a mention are the talents of (most of) the actors involved in the production. Rather confusingly, some of the best singers seemed to be given the smallest roles; Kelly Hampson, Tarisha Rommick and Simbi Akande had by far the most impressive singing voices in the production, and yet their roles were very much overshadowed by the more dominant characters in the performance.
“I can’t help but wonder if Harding was cast in her role simply because of her fame from Girls Aloud”
In a similar vein, one of the most disappointing things about this performance was Sarah Harding’s performance as Molly. I am hardly one to criticise someone’s singing ability, being almost entirely tone deaf myself, but her singing voice and style just weren’t suited to the theatre; her voice smacked of pop music throughout, which didn’t fit the tone of the production, and she failed to hit several of the higher, more powerful notes that other actresses in the show (such as Hampson, Rommick or Akande) would not have failed to achieve.
I also felt that her portrayal of Molly’s character was a little one-dimensional; I failed to empathise with her on the same level as the other characters, and she even started to annoy me slightly by the end. I can’t help but wonder if Harding was cast in her role simply because of her fame from Girls Aloud, rather than her suitability for the role – there were other actresses who could have performed the role much better.
“Ghost: The Musical is a great performance”
That being said, the several three-way harmonies within the production were incredibly impressive – in the words of my company for the evening, they were “a thing of beauty.” The production was tied together seamlessly, and the huge number of transitions were all done immaculately. And of course, my opinions on Harding are entirely personal and based around very little awareness or knowledge of the musical theatre. Ghost: The Musical is a great performance, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who appreciates a good 1990s romance plotline, or perhaps a bit of a loved-up cry.
7/10 – Great show but room for improvement
Image courtesy of Theatre Royal
‘Ghost: The Musical’ is running at the Theatre Royal until Saturday 3rd December. For more information and to book tickets, see here.