Get Into London Theatre. This year was rather slim pickings for me, with shows I either didn't fancy or had already seen, so I settled on one of last year's big new musicals which I'd skipped at the time. Ghost has just had a cast change, its original leads having gone to the upcoming Broadway transfer, so the very buff Mark Evans plays Sam Wheat (so named because he's well-bred. No? Please yourself) and Siobhan Dillon his girlfriend Molly, while Sharon D Clarke returns to play phoney psychic Oda Mae Brown after taking a break from the role. With its huge fanbase, the movie Ghost seems like a pretty obvious commercial choice to give the big-budget musical treatment. Though the fact that Matthew Warchus' production wears its budget on its sleeve is no surprise, given the fact that the romance is surely the draw for most of the aforementioned fanbase I didn't expect the show to be quite so in-your-face. Its personality is more that of the brash Oda-Mae than its pottery-fetishising central couple, and accordingly Clarke gets many of the biggest moments, and the biggest cheers.
As far as the songs go, all I can really say is that they're loud - it's not quite like they're an afterthought, but in the first act especially there were sometimes such long gaps between songs that I'd forgotten it was a musical by the time the music struck up again. And instead of ignoring the elephant in the room, "Unchained Melody" actually crops up several times (so if you come out humming anything, it'll probably be that.) Instead, this is all about the spectacle, with Rob Howell's set made up of large moving walls, almost always covered with Jon Driscoll's bright, busy projections. At times the latter make it feel like the production doesn't trust the actors to create the right atmosphere - notably in the famous pottery-wheel scene, I reckon the audience can be trusted to know it's a big romantic moment without the stage flooded with photos of the couple in happier times.
Ghost by Bruce Joel Rubin, Glen Ballard and Dave Stewart From Off Of Eurythmics is booking until the 13th of October at the Piccadilly Theatre.
Running time: 2 hours 45 minutes including interval.