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shirleyvalentine

A frightfully good production

Rebekah Lowings and Niall Sheehy star as Molly and Sam in Ghost The Musical Rebekah Lowings and Niall Sheehy star as Molly and Sam in Ghost The Musical
By Ciara Quinn

WE’VE all seen the 1990s blockbuster Ghost starring the late Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore and which secured Oscars for Whoopi Goldberg and screenwriter Bruce Joel Rubin.
For me, the film was a great cinematic experience and I was wondering how Ghost The Musical was going to transfer to the Grand Opera House stage on Tuesday night as the curtain came up. Music and lyrics in the production are by Eurythmics legend Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, who co-wrote and produced Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, so I was looking really forward to hearing how they were going to move the story and action along.
The production begins with idealistic couple Sam Wheat, played by Irish actor Niall Sheehy, and Rebekah Lowing in the role of Molly Jensen, a banker and an artist, just starting out on life after buying their first apartment together. Their lives are ripped apart after a mugging goes horribly wrong and Sam is shot dead leaving him ‘between’ here and the afterlife. It is his need to protect Molly that drives him to not be welcomed by St Peter at the gates but to try find out what happened.
The staging of the production is excellent, whether it’s capturing the New York skyline, taking us into the bowels of the city’s subway or to ‘psychic’ Oda Mae Brown’s palmistry studio just off the beaten track where Sam meets his ally – and a way to get answers.
With such a tragic story, comic relief thankfully comes in spades with the introduction of Jacqui Dubois’ Oda Mae, a character brought so brilliantly to life when Whoopi Goldberg did the job onscreen. Jacqui and Niall work brilliantly together and her outlandish outfits are a sight to behold as she belts out ‘Are You a Believer’ to the sad souls coming through her door hoping for a connection to a loved one who has passed on. The use of theatrical trickery is extremely clever, especially when conveying the moment Sam is murdered and immediately becomes a ‘ghost’ or when trying to access a door or move pieces of furniture.
A special mention must go to Sergio Pasquariello in his role as the couple’s shady friend Carl, who it becomes clear is in way over his head at the bank, and Jules Brown in his role as murderer Willie Lopez. Both bring menace to the stage and the message is that all is not what it seems no matter how much you think you know a person. Lovonne Zeus Richards is excellent in his role as the Subway Ghost who helps Sam realise how to use his death to his advantage in his quest for retribution.
The finale is beautifully staged as Sam and Molly get to – and have to – say their final goodbyes and we hear a stirring rendition from Niall Sheehy of The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody – and it’s fair to say there was a bit of snuffling and sniffling among the audience.
Initially thought unstageable, Ghost The Musical really does work and with tickets limited throughout its week run it’s best to get them quick.
Ghost The Musical runs at the Grand Opera House until Saturday April 13. For ticket information visit www.goh.co.uk

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