Admittedly, it is not the most cheerful of Christmas fare on offer in Birmingham this year, but Ghost The Musical may well be the best show you can see at the close of 2013. Hauntingly beautiful, spine-chilling and heart-breaking, Ghost, which is now showing at the New Alexandra Theatre, paints pictures that linger in the memory long after it’s emotional finale. In short, it is a mesmorising piece of theatre that provides the perfect anecdote to more seasonal shows.
The story is true to the film, Sam and Molly are the young couple with a perfect present and a promising future. All this comes to a sudden and violent end when Sam is murdered, seemingly in a mugging incident that goes horrifically wrong. This was the first sign of the awesome special effects that impressed throughout the musical. Sam leaves his body and runs across the stage, whilst his actual body remains on the floor. I know this film well, but even so I actually thought Sam was chasing the robber, until I glanced across the stage. Very clever and effective.
There are many more fabulous visual effects to come. The Subway pays a huge part of the movie and this is superbly conveyed through the visual images that are projected onto the stage. Equally impressive are the special powers of the ghosts to jump through walls, again making me gasp during those subway scenes.
Ghost The Musical is first and foremost a romance, and a weepy at that. But is also has great scenes of humour, and these are the ones featuring the fake spiritualist Oda Mae Brown. Portrayed hilariously by Wendy May Brown, Oda is a powerhouse who just dominates every scene she is in. The Rita Miller bank scene is worth the admission fee alone.
The performances are uniformly excellent. Stewart Clarke is very good as Sam, you feel his frustration and pain at every turn, whilst Rebecca Treahearn is the heart of the musical as the grief stricken, vulnerable Molly. Molly’s song ‘With You’ was an emotional high point of the first half.
The iconic Unchained Melody is used throughout the musical as a recurring motif, it signifies love and promise, terrible loss and grief, and finally the pain of final goodbyes. It retains the power to reduce even the most hardened people to tears, and typically Ghost the Musical ended with many of the audience reaching for the tissues. Beautiful, tender and tragic, Ghost the Musical is one thing you must see this Christmas.
To find more information and to book tickets, visit the ticket site here.