Theatre Review:Ghost The Musical @ New Theatre Oxford
by Abi Hack
Although at times this theatrical adaptation verged on cliché, the overall standard of acting throughout, especially from the leads Sam Ferriday, Kelly Hampson and Jacqui Dubois, excused the somewhat basic choreography and musical numbers, to create an emotive theatrical experience.
Despite the inevitable pressures for this musical to match up to the original 1990s film, Ghost, the production had clearly taken strong direction from Bob Tomson, and did not appear to succumb to any over-dramatisation of the original narrative.
The set was used well throughout the piece, and scene transitions were fluid and well integrated into the pace of the show. A personal favourite was the underground setting as it was visually enticing and the actors interacted with it well to make it come alive for the audience.
Although I was initially disappointed to see that our performance did not include the original casting of Sarah Harding as ‘Molly’ and Andy Moss as ‘Sam’, this disappointment was soon cast aside as soon as Sam Ferriday and Kelly Hampson finished their first scene together. The chemistry between Ferriday and Hampson is undeniable, and this only enhanced the believability of their acting throughout. Gentle and controlled vocals meant their melodies were extremely pleasant for the audience, and Unchained Melody proved to be a stunning adaption of the classic song. I felt these actors truly understood their characters, and did justice to themselves and the rest of the cast and creative team.
However, the stand-out performer of the night had to be Jacqui Dubois, with her rip-roaringly witty and incredibly endearing interpretation of ‘Oda Mae’. Are You A Believer? was, for me, the highlight number of the night, with Dubois’ natural flare for comedy, paired with her incredibly powerful voice injecting a new life into the performance. Tarisha Rommick and Simbi Akande also proved to be strong performers throughout this number, with Akande in particular showing off some impressive vocals.
Unfortunately, I found the choreography somewhat basic and felt it lacked the depth and sophistication that the emotion of the narrative required. ‘Rain/Hold On’ in particular used choral movement sequences that didn’t lend themselves to the scene and therefore became a distraction from the sentiment of Hampson’s vocals.
Aside from this, Ghost The Musical exceeded my expectations and proved to be an enjoyable attempt at recreating the success of Bruce Joel Rubin’s original narrative. I thoroughly recommend a trip to see this production as it tours in the coming months.