Monday, 8 October 2012

Saying Goodbye to Ghost: The Final Performance

I wasn’t really sure what to expect of a closing night of a west end performance as I'd never been to one before. Part of me wondered whether it would be full of over the top sentiments being shared amongst die hard fanatics and usually professional performers weeping uncontrollably.

I’m happy to say this ridiculously farcical scenario that I’d concocted was just that – a concoction. What I got instead was an atmosphere of an audience united in a joy and admiration of a musical that, sadly, hadn’t pulled in the audience numbers it deserved and performers who channelled all that emotional energy into well honed performances, heightened by the occasion.

As the wall of sound that is the overture began, the air was electric and the cheers raucous. I won’t do a review of the show in general as I already reviewed it in June – if you’d like to read the full review please click here. Instead I’ll just pick up on a few things.

The audience appreciation of Sharon D Clarke made her, evidently, the favourite. There were cheers after not just every musical number she performed but every scene! There’s a lot of love for this actress and there’s no doubt about why - Her voice is phenomenal and her comic timing perfect to the beat.

There was a heavy poignancy when the heartbroken Molly sings – ‘When it’s over it’s over, I have to let go’ considering the meaning this has not only to the story but for the show itself.

The ensemble were really given a chance to let go and enjoy performing together one last time during the upbeat song ‘Talking ‘Bout a Miracle’ and they threw all that last night adrenaline into it. Particularly Ashley Knight who plays the tap-dancing hospital ghost; you could really see the genuine smile of pride as he danced with his fellow cast members one last time. It was a smile of pure contentment within that moment.  

As we reached the climax of the show, already emotional for its content, I hear sobs all around. I’m not much of a crier in public - I prefer to hold it in till my throat gets all tight and I get a headache - but when Sam says “It’s amazing, Molly. The love inside, you take it with you”... that really gets me. I think it would for anyone who’s ever lost somebody. I’m listening to it now as I write this and it’s set me off again!

Then the tears rolled again during the final curtain call in reaction to seeing Mark’s eyes shiny with the threat of tears followed closely by Siobhan no longer being able to hold back. I find it so touching that these companies form such close bonds that it’s really like the separating of a family.

Photos courtesy of Lee Barfield @barfieldsrcool 

Photo courtesy of Lee Barfield@barfieldsrcool 

To mark the ending of the show the director, Matthew Warchus, came on stage to give a small speech and offer his thanks to the cast and crew. He talked about the process of putting the show together and the demanding nature of the technical aspects, upon which he brought out Rob Howell, the designer and Paul Kieve, the illusionist (they are the guys dressed in jeans & black tops in the photo on the left - I couldn't get over how ordinarily such creative geniuses dress). If you were at the show then I was the one whooping madly for them. Having studied technical theatre I have a real admiration and respect for these two. You’ll find their names credited to many shows, so keep an eye out.

 Warchus words culminated with the following sentiment:-

“I hope this doesn’t sound big headed but I think this really is the west ends loss”

Sad times - Flight cases taking away
bits of the Ghost Set

Photo courtesy of Lee Barfield
And though I don’t mean to judge prematurely ... I can’t help but fervently agree as the Spice Girls jukebox musical, Viva Forever, waits in the wings to take over at the Piccadilly Theatre next month.

If we can take positivity from this, however, it’s that a tour is definitely in store starting next spring bringing this fantastic musical to a wide range of new people all across the country.  I just really hope it doesn’t lose any of its punchy impact during the scaling down.

There's not a lot of information on the internet as of yet regarding the tour but  like their facebook page or if you don't have facebook keep an eye on the website

If you haven’t read it yet, also check out Mark Evans’s last blog as part of Ghost

Keep Believing

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