This was my third visit to Ghost The Musical. I think it's worth reviewing at this point as the show has undergone it's first cast change. Since opening in Manchester and transferring to London last year this April saw Richard Fleeshman (Sam) and Caissie Levy (Molly) transfer to the Broadway production. Mark Evans and Siobhan Dillon replaced them in London in January and the new ensemble in February.
Evans and Dillon are suitable replacements to Fleeshman and Levy, both of whom bring their own style to the roles. I found that both of new leads provide a more "musical theatre" tone to the songs than the rockier originals. But this is musical theatre and so it still works.
The jewel of this whole production is Sharon D. Clarke as the psychic Oda Mae Brown. In the role made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the 1990 film, Sharon D. Clarke manages to bring her own crazy characterisation to the stage. Her powerhouse vocals are enough to blow the roof off and both of her songs prove the much-needed comic relief to the show.
Understudying the part of Carl Bruner in replacement of Andrew Langtree was Paul Ayres. He gave us a great portrayal of Sam's 'best friend' and really captured the sinister twist in character with perfection.
Another performance worthy of note is Lisa Davina Phillip who provides comedy gold as Oda Mae's sister Clara.
The illusions are expectably less exciting after a third viewing. The walking through doors and appearing from nowhere still work well. The letter opening also remains a point of amazement. The scene in which Carl is being punched and shoved by the invisible Sam is a little sloppy in that the workings of some of the 'illusions' are left on show to the audience. Also the lighting reveals the 'secret' as to how characters float away once dead.
Ghost remains a spectacularly impressive show and one definitely worth seeing, even if for the set and illusions alone. Anything Sharon D. Clarke is in is always worth the money.
Booking until 20th April 2013. Monday - Saturday 7:30pm, Thursday & Saturday 2:30pm.
Tickets: £67.50, £45, £25 (Premium Seats £85) (Dayseats available Monday - Thursday performances at £25 on the day of performance at the box office.)
(With Sharon D. Clarke after the performance)