On a Monday whilst driving I received a text from a friend, asking what days I was free the following week, when I replied she gave me the invitation on going to see ‘Ghost the Musical’ currently on tour at The Wimbledon Theatre, London. To which I accepted with great enthusiasm, so on a very windy Thursday 9th May we set off to see the evening performance.
This was my first time visiting the Wimbledon Theatre, having only seen it as a venue for most of the touring leading musicals and plays, and I always imagined it to be quite big, but once again was surprised and how petite it actually was. Thanks to the Travelzoo deal with ticket prices of £22, when taking our seats they were great! We were in the Dress Circle Row B 11 and 12 which was centre and had a great view of the stage, and enabled us to see the whole stage, and I think the centre the better to allow you to see some of the effects used in this production, and being high can help too!
‘Ghost the Musical’ is based on Paramount Pictures film written by Bruce Joel Robin which starred the Legendary Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore, and Whoopi Goldberg. Bruce Joel Robin wrote the script also for the musical and teamed up with Dave Steward, and Glen Ballard to create the lyrics, who produced the music also. This well known love story is of Sam Wheat, and Mollie Jensen a couple in love that its sickly! They move to an apartment together in the big city, Sam a high up banker, and Mollie an inspiring artist dream of a life together forever. Yet a terrible event which leads to the death of Sam, and he continues on in the living world as a spirit, a ghost, as the cause of his death leads him to finding out who his true friends are, and now he must avenge his death and protect Mollie with the help of a spirit communicator Oda Mae Brown.
The story is not much different from the film, and it is lead the same way having been written by the same writer of the film, but with the addition of the songs within the story, the script is also very different from that of the film. The audience that loved the film can come and see a whole different approach to the story and view it in a new light to allow you to enjoy it to a whole different level. This was something I was worried that would happen, from seeing the musical ‘Dirty Dancing’ last year which follows the film word for word and scene by scene I came out of the show thinking ‘well I could of just watched the DVD and been happy’ but ‘Ghost’ that brought new songs, that were sung by the whole cast, made me come away thinking ‘WOW’ the thing was Dirty Dancing didn’t bring any new songs to the story which I understand as the music in the film was good enough to put in the show, but the difference to ‘Ghost’ was the song brought so much more to the story with bran new music and lyrics to help bring emotion to the story so much more than just words, and through past studies during my University years I researched that when someone listens to music, you become so much more interested and enjoy a lot more than script. Bruce Joel Robin says:
“In Films you have close-ups, and that’s one of the ways you take the audience on the characters’ inner journeys. With a musical, you don’t have close -ups; the songs are your close-ups, the songs are what draw you into the heart of this story, and we’ve benefitted from working with a pair of extraordinary musicians, Dave Steward, and Glen Ballard. Together, they have entered the emotional life of the story and turned into song. there’s something about seeing the story onstage in contrast to film. the emotions are surprisingly heightened.”
could have not put it better myself.
With the challenge of turning the film to a brand new musical, the next step would be how can they create the presence of a ghost who walks through walls, goes through people on to the stage, and let me tell you, they pulled it off, BIG TIME! the visuals were incredible, and if I could tell you how they did it I just feel that it would take away the magic from the show so I’m not going to go to into it too much cause you have to see it for yourselves! Though again through years of studying theatre and drama it wasn’t hard not to recognise that physical theatre company ‘Frantic Assembly’ were used to help created the movement pieces for the role of Sam and how he portrayed himself as a ghost walking through humans etc, and the choreography that was used in the subway scene.
Like most tours as I have said it is very rare to have a lot of understudies, and this performance was no different having all the main principle characters except for one of Oda Mae Browns sisters. The cast was as follows:
Sam Wheat- Stuart Clarke
Molly Jenson – Rebecca Trehearn
Oda Mae Brown – Wendy Mae Brown (no joke that is her last name)
Carl Bruner – David Roberts
Willie Lopez – Ivan De Freitas
Subway Ghost – Stevie Hutchingson
Clara – Karlene Wray
Louise – Kimmy Edwards (understudy)
First of the romantic couple, the chemistry between both Rebecca, and Stuart was convincible, and you could tell that their relationship was strong and comfortable with each other and the audience could tell. Stuart I loved so much! He really got the emotion and frustration that Sam would have felt with his longing for Mollie, and the drive to get his revenge of his death and make things safe for her, to protect from danger in any way possible, his voice also was not one to dislike…and his body….well you will just have to see for yourself. Rebecca having understudied for Mollie during his run on the West End again was very good, and again demonstrated well the emotions one would face with the loss of a loved one, and expressed it well for us all to feel, though I felt that her American accent could have been better, but her voice was beautiful, and I loved her solo ‘With You’ which is one of my favourite songs.
Now Whoopi Goldberg would defiantly be proud of Wendy Mae Brown, who performs Oda Mae, and does her justice, she had the audience in stitches with her rendition of the Oda Mae and you fell in love with her as soon as she walked onto the stage, she had the true Whoopi attitude, and the face, and attitude to get what she wanted…even if she did accidently rip the cheque of 10 million dollars while giving it to the charity…she covered it well.
I was lucky to meet Stuart Clarke after the show, and got a quick pic and autograph, and later a nice little tweet too 🙂 below is the photo, like I said it was very windy so I look terrible next to a handsome Stuart!
If you love the film like I do, you will love the musical! so its a Must see for any ladies out there! At the moment its on tour, so you will have to check the website to see the venues and what is close by, I know it is coming to The Mayflower, Southampton in October, November time, so I may just have to see how its done in a larger theatre compared to the Wimbledon and how the experience differs and see if my mother would come along to so I get to see it again, because I really would love to see it again!