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Ghost The Musical

The Playhouse, Edinburgh
Three stars

When writer Bruce Joel Rubin and director Jerry Zucker's celestial romance first appeared on the big screen in 1990, it wasn't that far removed from 1960s cult TV show Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), only with extra added schmaltz. Two decades later, Rubin's musical stage play featuring songs by former Eurythmic Dave Stewart and songwriter Glen Ballard invested a further layer of gooeyness on a story which had already given Unchained Melody by the Righteous Brothers renewed anthemic status

As financier Sam and potter Molly's domestic bliss in their Brooklyn loft is cruelly cut short, none of this is a bad thing in Bob Tomson's touring production of Rubin and co's recently revamped version. Things may be a tad one-dimensional at times, but the balance between poignancy and slapstick works well, with much of the latter provided by Jacqui Dubois' gospel-singing medium, Oda Mae. The second act bank scene between Oda Mae and Andy Moss' Sam is a particular hoot. It is good too that Sam Ferriday's creepy banker Carl gets his come-uppance by Sam as he discovers the full extent of the powers that come with life after death.

Much of the not always favourable attention Tomson's production has received thus far has focused on the show's leading lady, former Girls Aloud vocalist Sarah Harding, who plays Molly. While the show might have benefited from more experienced stage actors being at its centre, whatever the teething troubles may have been earlier on the tour, Harding seems to have settled into the role, both as an actress and singer in an unashamedly sentimental affair designed for old-fashioned lovers everywhere.

The Herald, November 23rd 2016

ends

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