York Stage Musicals have truly surpassed themselves with this electrifying new production of Ghost the Musical. The professionalism of the whole production is jaw-droppingly good, and once again this awe inspiring Yorkshire theatre company has punched well above its weight and come out victorious.
Ghost the Musical is based on the book by Bruce Joel Rubin and the Oscar winning film starring Demi Moore, Patrick Swayze and Whoopi Goldberg. The music and lyrics are by Dave Stewart (Eurythmics) and Glen Ballard (writer of Michael Jackson’s ‘Man in the Mirror’).
When Sam Wheat (Daniel Conway) is murdered, he finds himself trapped between this world and the next. After miserably failing to communicate with his girlfriend Molly (Lauren Sheriston) he gets help from a phoney psychic Oda Mae Brown (Jess Gardham) to try to save Molly from his murderer. As time ebbs away both Sam and Molly are devastated to learn the truth about Sam’s murder - they realise they must keep their friends close and their enemies even closer!
The dazzling stage set and lighting, including clever 3D projections onto the stage, help deliver an unforgettable experience for the audience. Musical Director Stephen Hackshaw presides over a tight live band, always a pleasure to enjoy live music in a theatre setting. The complicated choreography is by Lesley Hill (founder of Attitude Dance Club in York) and the singing performances of all three main characters was incredible: their relentless passion and talent truly shone. As well as Sam, Molly and Oda Mae I would also like to highlight the performance of the Subway Ghost played to perfection by Jonny Holbeck.
I sometimes find actors bursting into song difficult to believe but my preconceptions soon disappeared as I was totally swept along in the moment! Stephen Hackshaw as Musical Director said "….the amazing quality that you will see on stage is down to their (Nik Briggs, Lesley Hill) relentless quest to seek perfection…" They certainly achieved it!
The iconic ‘Unchained Melody’ scene at the pottery wheel was tender, moving and beautifully staged. (The wheel is on loan from nearby Fangfoss Pottery, in its second stage appearance to date).
The (almost) full auditorium cheered, clapped and laughed at the appropriate moments throughout, making a very special atmosphere. Possibly the biggest laugh came after a Nun’s unexpected expletive! Although Ghost is a heartbreaking love story, the comedy is also extremely prevalent and sweeps you along through the unbearable pain of death and lost love.
I have had an earworm of The The’s ‘Love is Stronger than Death’ since watching Ghost last night…it sums up the feeling of the production perfectly. A great night out!
Ghost is showing until Saturday 20 February.