More than a thousand people packed into The Regent Theatre last night to see Bill Kenwright’s stage adaptation of Ghost the Musical.
The audience members were clearly excited for the show to kick-off in what appeared to be a sold out opening performance. The beautifully designed purple screen set the mood of the production before it lifted to reveal a fantastic set lay out.
The cast didn’t disappoint. Once transformed into the ghost, Andy Moss’ Sam successfully channeled the angst that Patrick Swayze was famed for in the 1990’s classic film. His portrayal was perfect and he really made the role his own.
Understudy, Lauren Drew stepped into the shoes of Molly and sang her heart out every step of the way. Tackling high notes with audible emotion is no easy task but she made it seem effortless. Her body language stayed true to the character throughout. Drew naturally filled the role even though Molly is usually played by Carolyn Maitland.
Sam Ferriday delivered a noteworthy performance as Carl, the resident baddie. He played the role with such charisma and style that it was hard to dislike him early on, even though most know how his character develops. His voice was incredibly powerful and didn’t tire even as the performance drew on. His American accent didn’t slip for a second and that helped to make the part of Carl seem perfect for him.
Whoopi Goldberg has always owned the role of Oda Mae Brown. Not anymore. Jacqui Dubois filled those psychic shoes and then some. There were no faults with her performance and the audience lapped up every funny facial expression that she used to accompany her lines. Her singing, dancing and acting make this talented star is a triple threat. It felt as though the role was made for her.
The second half opened with dramatic claps of thunder and lightning that had viewers jumping out of their seats. The Illusionist, Richard Pinner raised the bar on stage production special effects.
This coupled with Garry Lee Netley’s entertaining and dramatic take on the Subway Ghost had the audience on the edge of their seats. Several members of the crowd were seen scanning the stage for wires that made the illusions possible. They couldn’t find any and that added amazement to the magical show.
Moss and Drew conveyed emotion through their vocals with a breath-taking rendition of The Righteous Brothers’ Unchained Melody. The passion in the delivery was not lost on the teary-eyed audience. It can be risky to take on classic songs but they succeeded in honoring the much-loved tune.
Before the final curtain fell the cast were met with a standing ovation and cheers from all parts of the viewing crowd, especially when Jacqui Dubois took a bow. There really wasn’t a weak link in the whole production. The crowd absolutely loved it. As for me? Ditto.