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Ghost The Musical - New Wimbledon Theatre (Review)

Review by David Munro

GHOST The Musical, now at The New Wimbledon Theatre, is the stage version of the Patrick Swayze/Demi Moore romantic film.

The plot concerns a young banker who is murdered and who returns from the dead to revenge himself on his killer and to comfort his distraught girlfriend – not the greatest plot for a musical play but this is not the conventional musical.

The director Mathew Warchus and the designer, Jon Driscoll, have created a never–never world with video effects and translucent screens where the action takes place on a virtually empty stage to the accompaniment of an ethereal chorus representing the every day world of the city and business.

Was it effective? Visually it is outstanding, the effects are breathtaking and the singing and dancing chorus are attractive and effective. Dramatically, I was not so sure. Apart from one outstanding performance by Wendy Mae Brown playing a fraudulent medium (whose name was strangely Oda Mae Brown!) the leads seemed a little drab against the dazzling mise-en-scene.

Stewart Clarke as the ghost lacked for me the romantic dash and bravado the character called for. He had an adequate singing voice and he was a tender lover but when he was required to take over the action one got the feeling he was merely working out in a gym, not reducing all and sundry by his ghostly prowesss.

Rebecca Trehea, as Molly the deserted girl, sang sweetly but her sobbing and sighing over her lost lover became tiresome after a while. You wanted to shake her and tell her to get on with life. The same with David Roberts as the villain – at times, apart from his clothes, he seemed indistinguishable from the ghost and, if I may so, equally as boring.

The joy of the show as I have already indicated was Wendy Mae Brown who brought much needed life (sorry) to the proceedings. Her mock séances were a delight and her friendship with the ghosts made one feel that there really is a fun life after death.

She could also sell a number as she proved in a fantasy song and dance where she lives the life of Reilly on an ill-gotten sum of money before she has to dispose of it. She then proved that she had real talent when she shed her brassy persona to comfort the lovers at the end; definitely a performance worth the price of admission.

Did I enjoy the show? Yes and no. The production, direction, visual effects and dancing certainly deserve to be seen and outweigh the lacklustre performances of the principles . I think therefore, on balance, to quote Simon Cowell “it’s a yes from me”!

Ghost the musical
Book by Bruce Joel Rubin
Musica and Lyrics by Dave Stewart and Glenn Ballard
Director – Mathew Warchus
Choreographer– Ashley Wallen
Designer – Rob Howell
Visual and Projection design – Jon Driscoll
Lighting – Hugh Vanstone and Tim Lutkin
Sound – Bobby Aitken
Musical director – David Rose

CAST: Stewart Clarke – Rebecca Trehearn – Wendy Mae Brown – David Roberts – Ivan de Freitas – Stevie Hutchinson – Karlene Wray – Kisha Atwwell – Mavis Byrne – Michae Cortez – Kimmy Edwards – Gabriella Garcia – Lewis Griffiths – Bradley Jaden – Gregor Stewart – Andy Webb – Amy West – Luke Wilson –Jaye Juliette Elster – Livvy Evans – Robert Knight – Michael Stewart.

Presented by David Ian Productions, The Ambassador Theatre Group, Colin Ingram Productions and Hello Entertainment/David Garfinkle in association with Paramount Productions

New Wimbledon Theatre, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London, SW19 1QG

Tues, April 30 to Sat, May 11, 2013
Evenings: 7.30pm/Matinees – Thurs & Sat 2.30pm
Box Office: 0870 060 6646