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Wizardry dazzles in Ghost the Musical

InReview

Ghost the Musical is cheesy, loud, utterly predictable and really quite sensational.

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Everyone in the opening night audience seemed to know the story of Sam and Molly, two young lovers living the dream in the Big Apple.  At the beginning of the show, a romantic dinner turns sour when Sam refuses to say “I love you” – somehow, “ditto” just isn’t the same.

Walking back to their apartment, he is fatally attacked by a low-life from Spanish Harlem.  But knowing Molly is in danger, Sam refuses to leave her side, and so the other-worldly fun begins as his spirit struggles to keep her safe.

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Rob Mills and Jemma Rix as Sam and Molly. Photo: Jeff Busby

Australian actors Jemma Rix and Rob Mills star as Molly and Sam. They are brilliantly supported by a local and international cast including Alex Rathgeber as the desperate Carl, Ross Chisari as Willie Lopez, and superb dancer David Denis as a truly nasty ghost who haunts the New York subway.  But British actor Wendy Mae Brown steals the show as the fraudulent psychic who is shocked to discover she really can talk to the dead.

This big-stage adaptation of the much-loved 1990 film is impressive. There’s good singing, great dancing, stunning special effects, and dramatic film sequences which place it somewhere between a stage show and a movie.

The technical aspects are seriously impressive and better than anything I’ve seen on stage before.

Unfortunately, all this wizardry combines to rather overwhelm the lead actors and subsume what is, after all, just a simple love story with a ghostly twist.  Rix and Mills aren’t given the opportunity to demonstrate the kind of passion that existed between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze in the film, and it’s only this passion that drives the story along and gives it meaning.

Impressive special effects. Photo: Jeff Busby

Impressive special effects. Photo: Jeff Busby

Ghost The Musical is directed by Tony Award-winner Matthew Warchus, with choreography by Ashley Wallen and illusions by Paul Kieve.  Special mention must be made of the lighting, sound and projections by Hugh Vanstone, Bobby Aitken and John Driscoll.

Adelaide is lucky to have secured the first Australian run of this ambitious international production and the opening night audience showed its appreciation with a spontaneous standing ovation.

Ghost the Musical first opened in Manchester in 2011 and moved on to runs in the West End and on Broadway; it has now been seen by more than a million people.  Join them – you won’t be disappointed.

Ghost the Musical is playing at the Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre, until January 31.

 

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