*This review contains spoilers!*
From Matilda, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Bend It Like Beckham, Elf and now, Ghost, Broadway has seen the transformation of films which were not originally musicals, into Broadway spectaculars.
‘Ghost’ the Musical is an adaption of the 1999 film ‘Ghost’, starring Patrick Swayze (Sam) and Demi Moore (Molly). The storyline is a combination of romantic, supernatural and crime elements revolving around a couple, who are mugged and attacked returning to their apartment, leaving Sam dead and Molly in grief. Not being able to cross over, Sam discovers the motive behind his murder and realises the potential danger this leaves for Molly. Sam seeks the help of a medium, Oda Mae Brown, to warn Molly.
I had the opportunity to view a live production of this play at the Royal Theatre in Sydney, Australia starring Rob Mills as Sam, Jemma Rix as Molly, and Wendy Mae Brown as Oda Mae Brown (I am still in love with the coincidence behind Wendy and her character’s last names).
The musical was advertised on billboards as ‘breathtaking’, and I believe it was that and MORE.
I have seen a large number of musicals including Wicked, Matilda, Hairspray, Mary Poppins and Mamma Mia, and Ghost has now moved ahead of Matilda as my number one favourite live production.
My number one reason for this was the UNBELIEVABLE visual effects and illusions used to tell the story. Obviously, it is commonly the musical numbers that make the production a memorable one, but a musical such as Ghost, would not be as effective if it were not for successful visual effects. The effects portray Sam’s struggle of not being able to touch Molly or move objects around her to get her attention. The visual effects made people walking through Sam and his hands going straight through the objects look realistic. In another scene, Sam walks through a door that we know was not a projection door as moments before, Molly opens the door and walks out. We can see Sam slowly put his hand through the door, fading away a little a time, before he goes through the door entirely. In the subway scene, the visuals make it appear like the characters are actually on a moving train, and we see the character’s luggage being elevated from them and moving around the subway above them. Another scene where the visual effects were amazing was when the demons come and collect Carl and Willy Lopez, and we can see the characters actually being lifted up and taken away.
The musical numbers were just as memorable as the visual effects and has created a soundtrack that I have listened to regularly since seeing the production. There were two musical numbers in particular that stood out to me. These were ‘Here Right Now’ and ‘Suspend My Disbelief/I Had a Life’.
‘Here Right Now’ is the opening musical number and builds up the relationship between Sam and Molly. This beautiful duet shows them moving into their new studio apartment about to start the next chapter of their lives together.
‘Suspend My Disbelief/I Had a Life’ combines three characters’ sides of the story – Sam, Molly, and Carl. The ending sees the three characters each singing their own song combined.
Wendy Mae Brown stole the show with her accurate portrayal of Oda Mae Brown’s humour. Every line made by her had the crowd in laughter. Although I’m not too much of a fan of Wendy’s musical numbers, she delivered them with strong vocals. They were loud and powerful.
The only downside comments I have to say about this production is my personal disappointment in the shortage of the well-known pottery scene and Rob Mills’ version of ‘Unchained Melody’. To me, these two factors just did not do as much justice to the movie as I would have liked it to.
If your bucket list includes being in the audience of a live production, then I highly recommend you make it Ghost the Musical.
Watch the trailer
Book Sydney tickets
Book Perth tickets
Listen to the soundtrack
Written by Brooke Gibbs