Bringing a movie with little singing and dancing alive on the stage can be a challenge but I decided to head along and see what Ghost The Musical had to offer.
Those who have seen the movie Ghost, with Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore as young lovers Sam and Molly, will be familiar with the story. For those not so knowledgeable, Ghost is set in New York, Sam is a successful banker while Molly is a daydreaming sculpture and they’ve just moved into their first home together. Sam’s colleague and friend Carl is mixed up in some dodgy drug deal and, in order to get Sam to hand over some banking codes, arranges for him to be attacked. The attack goes wrong and Sam ends up dead, featuring in the remainder of the story as, you guessed it, a ghost, who is trying to warn Molly of the danger Carl presents.
So, now the scene is set, back to the stage production. From the outset the visual effects take you straight into the movie. The dancing and the music, written by Dave Stewart of the Eurythmics and Glen Ballard, however, felt a little out of place. As a largely original score, only The Righteous Brothers Unchained Melody is recognisable, it’s obviously difficult to hum along and anticipate the next scene when there is no familiar thread.
Rob Mills as Sam is a revelation to me, I’ve never actually seen him in anything before, and Jemma Rix’s portrayal of Molly isn’t over the top – and her voice is superb, but I would have liked her to look more like the movie version of Molly. But it’s Wendy Mae Brown as Oda Mae Brown, the psychic, who Sam uses to help him make contact with Molly, who really lifts the show. She puts some much needed humour into an otherwise contrived affair.
Although the story is set in New York, I would question the need for the performers to chew their words to produce a typical New York accent. As they’re all Australian and the show is an Australian production, I would have been happier listening to the Aussie dialect.
The show is probably best enjoyed by those who simply loved the movie, although they will be disappointed by the fleeting reference to the film’s iconic pottery wheel scene. Those who know nothing of the original story at all can simply enjoy it as a well produced musical.
As the biggest show currently running in Melbourne, it will of course be popular. While I’m glad I’ve seen it, I’m even happier I managed to get discounted tickets for going to one of the season’s early performances.
Ghost The Musical runs until 13 March at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre. Find out more at Marrinergroup.com.au