Ghost shows plenty of spirit in film tran­si­tion

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Stage - Tanya MacNaughton

THE first 12 or so min­utes of Ghost the Mu­si­cal truly set the scene beau­ti­fully.

From fly­ing through black and white mod­ern-day New York City streetscape pro­jec­tions to snap­shots of deliri­ously happy cou­ple Sam and Molly, the pro­duc­tion in­stils an ‘ideal’ re­la­tion­ship full of love, where you can imag­ine their bliss­ful fu­ture with “days and months and years to trea­sure”.

Sam doesn’t want that bub­ble to burst, but those who have seen the 1990 film the pro­duc­tion is based on, know tragedy awaits when a mug­ging goes wrong.

Rob Mills stretches his act­ing skills in the role of Sam Wheat with great suc­cess, on stage for most of the pro­duc­tion and an­chor­ing it with con­vic­tion and heart.

His tor­tured reprise of Un­chained Melody is one of many mo­ments sure to make mas­cara run.

Jemma Rix is clearly rel­ish­ing the op­por­tu­nity to set Wicked’s El­phaba aside for Molly Jensen, find­ing the per­fect bal­ance of strength, sad­ness and grief.

British per­former Wendy Mae Brown (yes, that’s her real name) as psy­chic Oda Mae Brown is a sassy woman with a whole lot of at­ti­tude, who def­i­nitely knows how to make an en­trance. Spe­cial men­tion should also be made of sub­way ghost David De­nis, plus Ly­dia Warr and Evette Marie White, di­rect from the US, who play sis­ters Clara and Louise to com­edy per­fec­tion. David Roberts as Sam’s best friend Carl Bruner is de­plorably good as the story’s vil­lain. ‘Ditto’ and song Un­chained Melody have the much-loved re­cur­ring pres­ence and fans of the film will find com­fort in many fa­mil­iar lines thanks to the film’s scriptwriter Bruce Joel Ru­bin work­ing on the pro­duc­tion’s book and lyrics. His 13 new pop-rock style songs, with mu­sic and lyrics by Dave Ste­wart and Glen Bal­lard are like a breath of fresh air. And that pot­tery wheel does make an ap­pear­ance. Ad­vances in tech­nol­ogy have only made this mu­si­cal pos­si­ble in re­cent years (it pre­miered in Manch­ester in 2011 be­fore trans­fer­ring to the West End and then Broad­way) with the large-scale screen pro­jec­tions, spe­cial ef­fects and light­ing de­sign es­sen­tial to its on­stage tri­umph. Ghost the Mu­si­cal is a clas­sic tale of love and loss. Let this story of Sam and Molly wash over you, while the mov­ing fi­nal scene springs a tear or two, or ten. Re­viewed dur­ing Ghost the Mu­si­cal’s Mel­bourne sea­son. Show­ing at Crown Theatre Perth, May 21 to June 12.

Wendy Mae Brown, Rob Mills and Jemma Rix as Oda Mae, Sam and Molly in Ghost the Mu­si­cal.

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