Based on the hit 1990 film, Ghost follows the story of two lovers, Sam and Molly, who are attacked on their way home in New York. Sam is killed, but remains stuck in a state between life and death as a ghost, and with the help of medium Oda Mae, reunites with Molly and unravels the conspiracy surrounding his murder. Music Theatre Society, in one of the most successful collaborations with Backstage Society that LUU has seen in recent years, has brought us an outstanding rendition of this musical.
Backstage Society, and in particular Freddy Marlowe as Production Manager, should be applauded for their work. There were endless difficult cues, in both lighting and staging, but each was pulled off impeccably. The production design was meticulous in its detail. The disappearance of characters after blackouts of barely a second were so well executed the audience were left completely stunned. From books flying off shelves to Sam, played by Sam McCagherty, disappearing as a ghost through a door, the whole production was magical to watch.
Anna Carley shone as protagonist Molly, with a strong and controlled range, and her rendition of “With You” was wonderfully subtle yet powerful. The only element of the music that let down the standard slightly was the lack of projection of the chorus, particularly in the first number, and their presence onstage was generally quite minimal. However, their choreography was sharp and well executed, the movement of all cast members had intention, and there were very few moments of misguided direction (aside from one minor choreographed moment that saw a cast member check her wristwatch – even though her costume didn’t include one).
Oda Mae Brown, played by Sophie Rush, alongside sidekicks Jess Moncur and Philippa Anamoah, were also brilliant as comic relief in what could have been quite a dark performance. Sophie’s characterisation made her performance wholly believable, without becoming stale or awkward; a trap she could easily have fallen into in such a caricatured role.
The band was situated in a new area above the stage, and were unseen. They were incredibly slick and well rehearsed; so much so that most of the audience didn’t realise that they were playing live. Led by Musical Director Harry McCagherty. Bea Moore on Violin and Jake Pople on Clarinet, they were noticeable in their tone and quality of sound. The balance of sound was also generally good, although at the beginning they were slightly too loud against the vocals, which was quickly adjusted.
I think it’s safe to say that Ghost is one of the best shows to have graced the stage of the Riley Smith Hall. MT and Backstage should be highly commended for creating such a stunning piece of theatre.
Image: Flashbulb Memory Photography