Monday, January 16, 2012

'Ghost the Musical' - Unraveling the secret of "Believe"

Based on the well-known film, Ghost (1990) (which, because I do not watch many films, I have not seen), this musical is a new one having been performed for the first time in Manchester in March 2011 and beginning West End previews in June. It is now due to start previews on Broadway in March with the original West End leads Richard Fleeshman (Sam Wheat) and Caissie Levy (Molly Jensen) having left the London production before the official cast change date in order to open the production in New York. So, bring on the first performance of the new leads!

Ghost the Musical at Piccadilly Theatre, London
Performance: 13th January at 19:30
Seat: Third row of the Grand Circle
Cast included: Mark Evans (Sam Wheat), Siobhan Dillon (Molly Jensen), Andrew Langtree (Carl Bruner), Lisa Davina Phillip (Oda Mae Brown, u/s), Ivan de Freitas (Willie Lopez)
Note: This was the first performance of Mark and Siobhan. 

Going to see this was rather a last minute decision. It was just before five o'clock in the afternoon when I spotted someone selling a spare ticket on Twitter and decided to just go for it (these are the moments when I cannot get over how lucky I am to be living so close to the West End). I was very excited as this was not only my first time seeing Ghost, but I would be seeing Mark as well. He blew me away with his voice as Fiyero in Wicked and he is one of my favourite musical theatre performers. 

Firstly, the front of house staff at the theatre were some of the friendliest I have ever encountered. I would happily go there again just for those smiley and polite people! Thanks, Piccadilly Theatre staff for that. 
It's a shame the people in charge of making the programme had decided to either be lazy or cheap and there were only a couple of pictures of Mark and Siobhan. The majority featured Richard and Caissie. I suspect they are waiting for the actual cast change to take place before completely redoing the programme. 

Both Mark and Siobhan were stunning. Siobhan's voice gave me shivers, it was so clear and pure and Mark sang amazingly, as always. There was also a nice chemistry between the two of them which was cute to observe. I think my favourite song was With You sung by Molly. It was absolutely beautiful. I would love to get a backing track I could sing that to. Here Right Now was very catchy. That's the one I was singing as I left the theatre. 
Also Lisa Davina Phillip did a great job of Oda Mae!

This musical reminded me of a contemporary film more than anything. The costumes were not that kind of fancy things one expects to see in musicals and it used video projections to set the scene. Most memorably, perhaps, the New York subway had been created using this method with actors sitting behind the curtain so it looked like they were on the train. Personally I prefer more traditional musicals (I was delighted over the slightly random tap dance number in the midst of the action) but I think Ghost is an interesting one to see for those who are into films. Still, I enjoyed the singing so I will be going to see the show for a second time. Ghost still engaged me to a great extent. I decided that after realising how frustrated I was over the fact that Sam could not communicate with Molly. If I did not care, I would not have felt so strongly about it. 

In true West End style I waited for the actors at the stage door afterwards. It was not crowded, perhaps partly due to the freezing cold weather. It was great meeting Siobhan for the first time. She is a really really lovely person. And Mark, well, I don't quite know why I still keep asking him for an autograph every time because I already have about five of them :P

Conclusion: I now finally understand what the slogans "Believe" and "Ditto", which have kept popping up in relation to Ghost, are about!

The trailer for the musical featuring the original West End cast:

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