Tag Archives: Edinburgh Playhouse

NEWS: Theatregoers encouraged to make their mark at the Edinburgh Playhouse

For more than eight decades the Edinburgh Playhouse has provided the backdrop for some of the most iconic shows and names in musical theatre and live entertainment. Now theatregoers are being given the opportunity to make their mark on the UK’s largest theatre by sponsoring a seat.

Members of the public can sponsor their favourite seat in the Stalls and Circle level areas of the A-listed auditorium for 10 years for £150. ATG Theatre Card holders can become seat sponsors for £110.

Each selected seat will carry a plaque bearing a name or inscription of the sponsor’s choosing. A unique way to mark a special moment, occasion or to be given as a gift, seats can be dedicated to family and friends or sponsored to mark that first trip to the theatre, or they can carry a quote from a favourite musical or even celebrate the life of a loved one.

As well as a plaque fitted to the back of their chosen seat, sponsors will also receive a year’s ATG Theatre Card membership, worth £40, entitling holders to priority booking and discounts, amongst many other benefits. A mention on the ATG website and an invitation to a special reception to view individual plaques and receive a guided, behind the scenes tour of the theatre are all included.

In addition to this everyone who sponsors a seat at the Playhouse before midday on Friday 15th December 2017 will automatically be entered into a grand prize draw. One person will win a pair of tickets to every show in 2018.

Jennifer Wallace, Sales and Development Manager at the Edinburgh Playhouse, which is an Ambassador Theatre Group (ATG) venue, said: “The Playhouse has been showcasing the best in live entertainment to audiences for more than 80 years. It’s been the stage for iconic West End musicals and sell-out gigs. With a wealth of entertainment history the theatre holds significant meaning for many performers and audiences alike. It’s only fitting that theatregoers have the chance to make their own mark on the Playhouse and sponsor a seat. “We really want to encourage people to celebrate their own special moments and occasions with this unique sponsorship opportunity – a chance to put their name on the best seat in the house.”

For more information or to sponsor a seat at the Edinburgh Playhouse, please visit:

www.atgtickets.com/edinburgh-seat-sponsorship

NEWS: Cast announced for Wicked UK tour

WICKED, the West End and Broadway musical phenomenon that tells the incredible untold story of the Witches of Oz, has announced that Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq) and Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) will lead the cast of the spectacular, critically acclaimed and multi record-breaking UK & Ireland Tour when it returns to Edinburgh Playhouse for its only Scottish dates from 8 May to 9 June 2018.

Amy Ross by Darren Bell

Amy Ross (Elphaba) has most recently been starring as ‘Nicola’ in the hit musical Kinky Boots in the West End. She previously appeared in Sunny Afternoon, playing ‘Joyce’, at both the Hampstead Theatre and in the West End; Helen Woolf (Glinda) has most recently been appearing in the London production of WICKED and was also part of the original 2013 UK & Ireland Tour company. She has played the role of ‘Glinda’ on many occasions; Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero) has just finished playing ‘Steven Beale’ in the BBC’s EastEnders, a role he originally played in 2007/08. His many acclaimed musical theatre appearances include Grey Gardens (Southwark Playhouse), American Idiot (Arts Theatre, London) and the leading role of ‘Michael Dork’ in Loserville The Musical (West Yorkshire Playhouse and in the West End); still best remembered as ‘Max Farnham’ in Brookside, Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond) starred in the UK & Ireland Tour (joining in 2014) and on the International Tour of WICKED. He also played Doctor Dillamond in the West End. Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose) and Iddon Jones (Boq) all recently starred in the International Tour of WICKED; Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba) has recently appeared in the Asian Tour of Ghost The Musical, the UK & Ireland Tour of Shrek the Musical and in Monty Python’s Spamalot in the West End.

Helen Woolf by Darren Bell

The full UK & Ireland Tour cast is confirmed as Amy Ross (Elphaba), Helen Woolf (Glinda), Aaron Sidwell (Fiyero), Steven Pinder (The Wizard and Doctor Dillamond), Kim Ismay (Madame Morrible), Emily Shaw (Nessarose), Iddon Jones (Boq), Nikki Bentley (Standby for Elphaba), Charli Baptie, Jason Broderick, Samantha Brown, Hannah Cadec, Grace Chapman, James Davies-Williams, Howard Ellis, Amy Goodwin, Daniel James Greenaway, Jack Harrison-Cooper, Charlie Karlsen, Nicole Lupino, Stuart MacIver, Stacey McGuire, Sara Morley, Emily Olive Boyd, Georgia Rae Briggs, Paul Saunders, James Titchener, Helen Walsh, Amy Webb, Luke Woollaston and Benjamin Yates.

Aaron Sidwell by Darren Bell

WICKED returns to Edinburgh Playhouse for five weeks only from Tuesday 8 May to Saturday 9 June 2018, for the only Scottish dates on this new UK & Ireland Tour. One of the most successful productions in the venue’s history, WICKED was previously seen by over 175,000 people – equivalent to 1 in 3 of the entire population of Edinburgh – during its celebrated engagement from November 2014 – January 2015.*

LISTINGS INFORMATION

TUESDAY 8 MAY – SATURDAY 9 JUNE 201

EDINBURGH PLAYHOUSE

18-22 Greenside Place

Edinburgh

EH1 3AA

Performance Times:     Mon – Sat @ 7.30pm / Wed & Sat @ 2.30pm

Ticket prices:                from £22.50

On sale dates:               General on sale 8th February.

Tickets available from the venue box office / Atgtickets.com/Edinburgh* / 0844 871 3014* and for Groups 0844 871 7655*

*Transaction fees apply. Calls cost up to 7ppm plus your phone company’s access charges.

WICKED is suitable for a general audience. As a guide to parents, guardians and teachers, it is recommended for ages 7+. All persons entering the theatre, regardless of age, must have a ticket. Children under 3 years of age will not be admitted.

The producers cannot guarantee the appearance of any particular artist, which is always subject to illness, injury and statutory leave entitlement.

*(population source: www.nrscotland.gov.uk)

 

NEWS: Casting announced for the new nationwide tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL®

Believe all ‘ogre’ again! SHREK THE MUSICAL® has announced casting for the major nationwide tour. Following the unprecedented success of the first UK and Ireland tour, the original production team reunites to bring the hit musical to a swamp near you.

Opening at the Edinburgh Playhouse for the festive season this year from 12th December, the production will then tour throughout the country in 2018.

 

Leading the cast as beloved swamp-dwelling ogre ‘Shrek’ will be Steffan Harri, having previously starred in the original UK tour of SHREK THE MUSICAL®, and Aberdeen born Call the Midwife star Laura Main as ‘Princess Fiona’. Also joining the cast will be Marcus Ayton as Shrek’s wisecracking sidekick ‘Donkey’ and Samuel Holmes as pint-sized villain ‘Lord Farquaad’. Further casting to be announced.

The company of fairy-tale characters will include Adam Baker, Ethan Bradshaw, Michael Carolan, Joseph Dockree, Will Hawksworth, Sarah-Louise Jones, Reece Kerridge, Thomas Lee Kidd, Amy Oxley, Jemma Revell, Lucinda Shaw, Sam Stones, Adam Taylor, Jennifer Tierney, Sophie Wallis, Francesca Williams, Laura Wilson and Kevin Yates.

Laura Main, who will play Princess Fiona in the upcoming tour, said: “I’ve been waiting a long time for an adventure like this to come along and now that it has I am ready to swap the surgery for the swamp in one of my favourite musicals. Shrek has made a Believer out of me and I can’t wait for this fairytale to take me across the country.

Opening at Edinburgh Playhouse for the Christmas 2017/18 season from 12 December to 7 January, the production will then tour. 

As previously announced, Nigel Harman will return as director, having made his directorial debut on the first ever tour. Since then Nigel has gone on to direct Lunch & The Bow of Ulysses (Trafalgar Studios) and will direct Kelsey Grammer in Big Fish The Musical (The Other Palace) this autumn. Best known for his stage and television work, Nigel originated the role of Lord Farquaad in the West End, winning the Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

Steffan Harri starred in the first ever UK tour of Shrek the Musical, covering the role of Lord Farquaad. West End theatre credits include Les Misérables (Queen’s Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre) and Children of Eden (Prince of Wales Theatre). Steffan also played Lyn in Welsh language soap opera Rownd a Rownd.

Laura Main is best known for her role as Shelagh Turner in the award-winning Call the Midwife (BBC/Neal Street Productions). Appearing initially as Sister Bernadette, she left behind her life as a nun to marry Dr Turner. Laura has appeared in all six series to date and will return for this year’s Christmas special and series 7 in 2018. She has also had regular roles as Rebecca Howlett in The Mill (Channel 4) and DC Alison Bain in Murder City (ITV). Stage credits include Company (Southwark Playhouse), Me and Juliet (Finborough Theatre) and State Fair (Trafalgar Studios / Finborough Theatre).

Marcus Ayton’s recent credits include Sammy Davis Jr in The Rat Pack Live, Ray Charles in A Tribute to the Brothers Live and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (UK Tour).

Samuel Holmes is currently appearing as George in the UK Tour of The Wedding Singer. Other stage credits include Mrs Henderson Presents (Theatre Royal Bath; Noel Coward Theatre), Water Babies (Curve Theatre), Spamalot (Playhouse Theatre), Kiss Me Kate (Chichester Festival Theatre) and Crazy for You (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre; Novello Theatre).

 

REVIEW: Mamma Mia! – Edinburgh Playhouse

This post was originally written for The Reviews Hub

Sometimes, all you need at this time of year is to escape the hustle and bustle of festive shopping, freezing temperatures and the shock of your ever-dwindling bank account. 17 years after its first appearance on stage, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ Mamma Mia!, still has the ability to help you do just that.

In one small corner of Scotland’s capital city, the sun beats down on the azure blue Mediterranean island idyll of Kalokairi. 20 year-old Sophie is about to marry her sweetheart Sky, and all she wants is her father to walk her down the aisle. The problem is, she has no idea who he is. On finding her former party-loving mother’s diaries, she invites the three most likely candidates to share her big day. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go exactly to plan.

Essentially a thin storyline woven around the hits of one of the world’s greatest pop bands, it’s no less entertaining for that, and while it may seem like the young things are the centre of it all, it’s the more mature members of the cast who are the heart and soul of the piece. Sara Poyzer as mother Donna is a knock-out, both vocally and emotionally, the performance is a pitch-perfect portrayal of a mother losing her only daughter to the world. As Donna’s former band-mates Rosie and Tanya, Jaqueline Braun and Emma Clifford deliver the lion’s share of the laughs and are no slouches vocally either, and as the trio of potential dads Richard Standing (Sam), Tim Walton (Harry) and Christopher Hollis (Bill), imbue life and spirit into characters that could have easily been two-dimensional.

As undemanding as the whole endeavour is, it still packs an emotional punch and the glorious music never fails to get an auditorium on its feet at the end. It’s pure entertainment and does what most great theatre should do – transport you to another time and place for a few hours.

Resist the temptation to hibernate this winter, get yourself along to the Edinburgh Playhouse and bask in the reflected sunshine of this uplifting, feel-good show. A real tonic for the soul on these long, cold winter nights.

Runs until 7 January 2017 | Image: Brinkhoff Mögenburg

REVIEW: Bernadette Peters – The Playhouse, Edinburgh

Considered the finest interpreter of the works of Stephen Sondheim, Broadway superstar Bernadette Peters visited Edinburgh this week on the final night of her three date tour of the U.K.

Ms Peters, despite her tiny stature, is a Titan of the stage, but her modest demeanour and genuine warmth belies this, there are no diva antics here, the moment she steps on stage to a standing ovation, she seems truly appreciative of her audience, and boy are they appreciative of her. That’s not to say she’s lacking in sass – far from it – she cheekily sashays through some glorious, and in some cases forgotten, musical theatre classics. From Gypsy’s Let Me Entertain You, through a series of Sondheim’s greatest works, some sassy show-stoppers such as Fever (delivered reclining on the grand piano) and C’mon a My House which she performed in her TV show Mozart in the Jungle, to little heard songs from Carousel and State Fair, this is a masterclass in acting through song.

Despite the sheer size of this, the largest theatre in the UK, it seems as though you’re in an intimate cabaret club, so adept is Peters at drawing her audience in. There’s pure emotion and total commitment to each and every note and from the front row it gives you glorious goosebumps.

As you leave theatre you know what you have just witnessed is something truly special and will rarely be repeated. Just magical.

Image: Contributed

REVIEW: Guys and Dolls – Edinburgh Playhouse

So successful is Chichester Festival Theatre’s 2014 production of Guys and Dolls, that not only has it made the transfer to the West End but has also spawned a comprehensive national tour. Sad to say, however, it appears to have lost some of its five-star sparkle in transit.

An amalgamation of three of Damon Runyon’s Broadway fables; The Idyll of Miss Sarah Brown, Pick the Winner and Blood Pressure: shifty, small-time crook Nathan Detroit (Maxwell Caulfield), in need of money to host ‘the oldest established, permanent floating crap game in New York’, bets charismatic cool-cat and inveterate gambler Sky Masterson (Richard Fleeshman), that Masterson can’t get frosty missionary Sarah Brown (Anna O’Byrne) from the Save-A-Soul Mission, to go with him to Havana on a date. A merry band of misfits help colour the tall tale, from eternally engaged, fourteen years a fiancée Miss Adelaide (Louise Dearman), to local low-lives Nicely-Nicely Johnson and Harry the Horse.

guysanddolls2

The witty words of Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows are regarded as among the funniest in the musical theatre canon and they remain intact in Gordon Greenberg’s revival. However, the pace and direction of Greenberg’s production lacks the spark required to bring Runyon’s stories fully to life, playing like a poorly connected series of stand-alone scenes rather than a flowing whole.

guysanddolls

None of the faults of the production can be blamed on the cast, with West End leads Louise Dearman, Anna O’Byrne, and Richard Fleeshman and seasoned actor Maxwell Caulfield at the helm, then quality is assured. Dearman turns in an especially effective turn as a Lucille Ball-like Miss Adelaide, managing to balance the humour and pathos brilliantly and Fleeshman conveys the easy charm and charisma of Masterson with aplomb. The supporting cast too is of the highest quality.

guys and dolls 3

Peter McKintosh’s set design is essentially simple, an arc of lightbulb-ringed adverts and a series of roll-on-roll-off accents, which only really brings the vivid world of New York alive when fully lit. The choreography of Cuban ballet superstar Carlos Acosta and West End stalwart Andrew Wright has been placed firmly centre stage, with extended dance sequences throughout. The duo’s work is especially effective in the ballet-inspired crap game in the sewers with its athletic, inventive sequences and a nod to Acosta’s ballet background in the Swan Lake line up.

With such a top-notch cast and first-rate creative team, it’s hard to see how this could go wrong, but Greenberg’s production falls flat in too many places that if fails to do full justice to the stellar cast and this musical theatre classic. Ultimately unsatisfying.

This review was originally written for and published by The Reviews Hub

Images: Johan Persson

REVIEW: Love Me Tender – The Playhouse, Edinburgh

This seemingly ‘new’ musical is actually a decade old, starting life on Broadway in 2005 as All Shook Up, it has been freshened up by director and choreographer Karen Bruce and is now touring the UK prior to a hopeful West End transfer as Love Me Tender.

The story is a familiar one, indeed it takes as its unlikely inspiration Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: charismatic drifter Chad moseys into a one-horse town where the downtrodden locals are under the control of the zealous mayor who has enforced the Mamie Eisenhower Decency Act “no loud music, no public necking and no tight pants” with a guitar on his hip and mischief in mind. Cue love at first sight, cross-dressing, mistaken identity and general mayhem.

Unashamedly cashing in on the eternal popularity of the music of Elvis Presley, the 25 songs are either cleverly or wittily inserted into the script, indeed central to it’s success is the fact that it whole endeavour doesn’t take itself seriously at all, the knowingly silly but witty book moves along at a fair pace  and manages to keep the interest levels high throughout. There are also a raft of witty visual gags to look out for. However, the sheer volume of music leaves little room for complex dialogue or fully developed characterisations. Another gripe is the fact that the rough rock ‘n’ roll edges have been well and truly smoothed off the songs which have all been given a musical theatre gloss over, indeed some of the arrangements are so far removed from the originals that they are rendered almost unrecognisable.

The sheer good natured fun of it all more than makes up for any gripes though, and the cast are universally top-notch: Ben Lewis as Chad has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek throughout and has a good stab at some of The King’s greatest hits, needless to say Mica Paris impresses as bar owner Sylvia and the ever-reliable and loveable Shaun Williamson provides the lion’s share of the evening’s laughs. There’s strong support too, in particular from Mark Anderson as nerdy Dennis and a fine-voiced Aretha Ayeh as Sylvia’s feisty daughter Lorraine and poor Laura Tebbutt deserves a medal for enduring the least flattering costume ever as the cross-dressing Natalie/Ed.

Shakespeare it isn’t but it is hugely entertaining, silly, escapist fun. If it’s a good-natured pick-me-up you’re looking for then look no further.

4 ****

Runs until Saturday 25 July 2015, visiting Glasgow King’s Theatre from 3 – 8 August 2015

INTERVIEW: 10 minutes with the stars of The Lion King – Ava Brennan and Nicholas Nkuna

Anticipation has been building throughout the country since the announcement in January that Disney’s legendary musical The Lion King would make its Scottish premiere at the Edinburgh Playhouse this autumn. The international cast of 52 performers from 18 different countries have arrived this week in Edinburgh with 23 trucks and to the news that over 210,000 tickets have been sold before the first performance. Glasgow Theatre Blog had a chance to meet the show’s stars Ava Brennan (Nala) and Nicholas Nkuna (Simba) and chat about being part of this global phenomenon.

How are you settling in to Edinburgh?

Ava: I’ve been doing a bit of exploring already, along Princes Street and just walking around and getting to know the city. I’ve got a list of places I want to go to: the castle and I’d love to do one of the city tours to see all the sights; I also really want to see Mary Stairs Close the haunted underground city.

How has Edinburgh compared to other cities you’ve performed in?

Nicholas: It’s been different in every city, every city brings its own energy to the show and the show has a lot of local references added for each place we go, they just love it, especially here. We couldn’t believe the reaction those parts got. When we walked out and heard the reaction from the 3000 people in the auditorium it was unbelievable.

Ava: The first preview was daunting, the theatre is so huge and the whole cast felt more nervous than we have done anywhere we’ve been.

Why do you think the Lion King has been such a long-running and well-loved show?

Nicholas: First of all for me, it’s the story, it’s universal and touches all ages. I think that’s what makes it so successful. It means I can take my little brothers, my mum and dad, it touches all age groups.

Ava: Coupled with the story is the show itself; the puppetry, the costumes and the amount of detail that’s gone into every aspect of the show, all the fabrics are African in origin and along with the wonderful actors, it all comes together to make it feel so real and authentic.

 What is your history with the Lion King?

Ava: I’m going into my fourth year with the company; I was in the Hamburg production and in the West End for two years and now on the tour.

Nicholas: This tour is my first experience in the Lion King and I’m going in to my second year now.

What is your favourite aspect of being in the show?

Nicholas: My favourite song is “He Lives in You” I think everyone relates to the song, It’s that time when you grow up and you realise that you have to face your responsibilities. Rafiki is knocking some sense into Simba and that’s the moment in the show when the light really goes on for him. I also love the whole experience of being on tour and having the chance to travel from city to city too.

Ava: I love the first act where we hear “They Live in You” and it’s Mufasa and Simba, I have a son myself and when Mufasa tells Simba he is never alone and that his ancestors are always watching over him, it gets me every time.

It’s such a huge company what is the atmosphere like backstage?

Ava: We really are like a family; we spend so much time with one another, eight shows a week and all the rehearsals, it’s made us quite close. It’s a really nice atmosphere where everyone is really looking out for one another.

Nicholas: We are blessed being out on tour together, firstly to get the chance to meet all of these amazing people from so many wonderful countries. There are five continents represented in this one production, so few people will ever get to experience all those diverse cultures.

Ava: The fact that we are from all over the world but have the privilege of telling this one fantastic story together is wonderful.

How do you keep it fresh when you are on a long tour, how do you keep up the energy and enthusiasm?

Ava: It’s the audience that keep us going as well as the people we are working with, of course it’s the same show every day but we never feel the same way every day. There are always different people to bounce off of each day and the audience may be different from what we’ve experienced before, so that keeps it fresh.

Nicholas: I always remember that each and every night there are people in the audience who are getting to see the show for the very first time. So I think of it as a premier every night, each and every single night the show has to be at its best.

Do you have any advice for any aspiring actors?

Ava: This industry is audition after audition and knock back after knock back, it happens to every performer, all I can say is keep going, if you want to go for it, if you want it to happen, it will, if you work hard enough for it.

Nicholas: This was my third attempt to get into the show, I had been turned down twice before and then on the third try I landed the principal role in the show. If you want it enough, go for it, there is nothing that should stop you. If you really believe in it then someone will see that in you and it will happen.

Disney’s The Lion King is at the Edinburgh Playhouse until 18th January 2014.

REVIEW: Bring Him Home Colm Wilkinson in Concert – Edinburgh Playhouse

COLM_FRO

There are many young pretenders to his throne but Colm Wilkinson still reigns supreme as the king of musical theatre and his concert at Edinburgh Playhouse, is a masterclass in singing, not only musical theatre but good old fashioned rock and roll too.

From the first notes we know we’re in for a special night and Wilkinson doesn’t disappoint. The rapturous applause to which he enters the stage is testament to the regard in which he is held by musical theatre aficionados. Entirely at ease on stage, this is a man thoroughly comfortable in his own skin and fully aware of his strengths: his sure-footedness instantly signalling to the audience – sit back, relax hey! even join in if you want to – but be prepared to be entertained.  This is a city renowned for its subdued audience reaction but Wilkinson is a first-rate raconteur and his jovial personality and clever song choice ensured the crowd were in fine voice from the start. Hard to believe for Edinburgh but there was even audience participation at some of the more spirited songs; that should be proof enough of Wilkinson’s magic touch.

Further evidence of his surety of touch is the choice of opening number – Music of the Night – in many lesser performers repertoire this is their highlight moment left for the big finish – but Wilkinson has played the big parts, sung in massive concerts and has such a back catalogue of material that he can throw, arguably one of musical theatre’s biggest show-stoppers, in at the start as a warm up!

The evening is punctuated with songs from guest artists Siobhán Pettit and Áine Whelan, both are competent singers and provide a different dynamic to the evening: a few of the big female musical theatre show-stoppers, and both are politely received but its Wilkinson whom the crowd are here to see and the atmosphere is only truly enlivened when he’s on stage. Special mention must go to the band – all phenomenally talented individually and a treat for the ears as a whole.

It is hard to pick out any moment as a particular highlight in an evening of such quality, but, when Wilkinson walked on stage in his Jean Valjean coat to sing Bring Him Home, the entire auditorium erupted – prompting tears of emotion from many.

It would be easy to wax lyrical about the quality and tone of Wilkinson’s voice but many thousands of words have covered that already. This was a truly magical night with a master story teller in both word and song. Many of those young pretenders should take heed – this is how it should be done!

5*****

Edinburgh Playhouse Set List:

Music of the Night

Help me make it Through the Night

Some Enchanted Evening

First of May

Folsom Prison Blues

I Dreamed a Dream sung by Áine Whelan

Something’s Coming sung by Siobhán Pettit

Danny Boy

Whiskey in the Jar

This is the Moment

Man of La Mancha

The Impossible Dream

Somewhere

She’s Leaving Home

All That Jazz sung by Siobhán Pettit

The Winner Takes it All sung by Áine Whelan

500 Miles

Got My Mojo Working

I Cannot Stay

Mamma Don’t

Hallelujah

Imagine

Bring Him Home

REVIEW: Ghost – Edinburgh Playhouse

stewart-clarke-rebecca-trehearn-6-ghost-the-musical-photo-credit-sean-ebsworth-barnes

Walking back to their apartment one night, Sam and Molly are mugged, leaving Sam murdered on a dark street. Sam is trapped as a ghost between this world and the next and unable to leave Molly who he learns is in grave danger. With the help of a phony store-front psychic, Oda Mae Brown, Sam tries to communicate with Molly in the hope of saving her.

I strongly doubt that the 1990 mega-hit movie, Ghost would ever have been a likely candidate for a stage musical adaptation in anyone’s  books – having at its core a heart-breaking love story with a dramatic cat and mouse thriller thrown in for good measure. However, it’s precisely this, and the innovative on-stage effects and illusions that make it stand apart from other movie-based musical fodder.

The most technically advanced production ever to tour the UK: the cleverly designed visuals, including projected backdrops, evocative lighting and illusions designed by Paul Kieve, (which allow Sam to walk through solid doors) are stunning in their realisation – the subway scene in particular is jaw-droppingly impressive. To say any more would spoil the multitude of surprises in store.

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Stewart Clarke’s central performance as the tragic Sam is deserving of acclaim – he manages to convey the right balance of anger, disbelief, sense of loss and frustration as he makes his journey to acceptance and peace. He is also in possession of a powerful voice with beautiful tone. As Molly, Rebecca Trehearn fares less well, though a competent singer, her voice at certain parts of her range was a little reedy and at times she lacked both the charisma and the emotional depth to convey the sorrow of a woman so recently bereaved.

Ghost-The-Musical-UK-Tour-More

The moments of light relief come in the form of Wendy Mae Brown playing her near-namesake Oda Mae Brown, she sparkles with sass and shimmies across the stage in an eye-dazzling array of outfits, stealing every scene she’s in and as the duplicitous Carl, David Roberts delivers a convincing performance. The show also benefits from an accomplished ensemble, strong voiced and with impressive dance skills.

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If there’s any criticism of the show then it’s the music by Glen Ballard and Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart, though pleasant and entirely fitting to the piece (if a little repetitive) one questions at times if it’s needed at all. This is a very different theatre-going experience – it’s a movie played out onstage and the story-telling and performances alone are strong enough.

I defy anyone who sees this not to leave the theatre with a tear in their eye or a lump in their throat – an unmissable show.

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