The West End is coming! See Ghost at The Orchard Theatre, Dartford
Do you, like me, love the theatre, but due to the extra travel expense, and time it takes, rarely make it into London anymore *sob*? Well cheer up buttercup, because the West End is coming to Kent with this touring production of Ghost. The Orchard Theatre, Dartford gets all the good shows, including this one. (In case you’ve never considered this theatre before, it takes less than 40 mins from Tunbridge Wells and only around 30 mins from Sevenoaks or Maidstone.)
Hero Brown, Muddy founder, over in Bucks/Oxon, caught the show when it hit Oxford. Read the Muddy review here and book your tickets now!
No Sarah Harding here (Ms Girls Aloud has had a sketchy few months in the title role of Molly, pulling out several times due to illness). But replacement Carolyn Maitland is a theatre gem, having played Ellen in Miss Saigon and Rose in From Here to Eternity, so the role is in safe hands. She’ll be treading the boards when the show kicks off at Orchard Theatre, Dartford. No images of Carolyn in action yet, so say hello to her in press shot mode instead.
Do I need to remind you of the story of Ghost? Probably not, for how can we forget Demi (Molly), Patrick (Sam) and that potter’s wheel (whopping great phallus), or Whoopi Goldberg’s turn as a fake clairvoyant who is the only person who can help the murdered Sam protect Molly from his rogue best friend Carl?
Ghost the movie was a total schmaltzfest with a delicious dollop of Swayze shirtless sex appeal that pushed it to the top of the box office. Man, I fancied him so badly between 1987 and 1990, didn’t you (and if not, who?!). I knew the musical would be fun but kind of expected it to be heavy on the fromage, but actually, I have to admit it, the production was very moving in parts, with Kelly Hampson and Sam Ferriday who played Sam at the show I watched, but usually plays Carl – er, keep up – bringing a real intensity to their on-stage relationship that brought a tear to the cynical Muddy eye on several occasions.
No need to fear though, it’s no sobfest, with moments of real tension (murder will do that to a show) and plenty of laughs too, mostly via Jacqui Dubois as the Whoopi Goldberg character of Oda Mae – she had great comic timing, not to mention whopping great big lungs on her, a real showstopper of a voice. Also worthy of a nod, the excellent vocal backing from Tarisha Rommick nad Simi Akande.
Sets were simple but effective, swapping seamlessly between the groovy brick-and-glass Brooklyn apartment, the NY subway ghost train and Sam’s office, and the death scenes were particularly clever, with ‘bodies’ replacing actors so quickly on the floor that you couldn’t see how they did it.
The supporting cast was excellent, dance routines tight, and the songs, though numerous – for, you know tis a musical – weren’t just there as fillers, and allowed the dramatic content to push the performance forward.
What’s not to like? Not much in truth. If I’m being a bit Simon Cowell about it and super-picky, there’s that usual British embarrassed sinking feeling I had when Ethan Bradshaw playing Carl sucked, tensed and took his top off and the crowd whooped, but y’know, that’s my problem!
Overall, I can say hand on heart, slightly surprised at myself, that this musical, on this night, with this cast, pulled off a superior show, low on cheese, high on class. A phantasmic Muddy thumbs up.
Ghost is performed the Orchard Theatre, Dartford, from Tues 17 – Sat 21 Jan. Tickets