Post update: Since publishing this review, Carolyn Maitland has let me know she was unwell and didn't perform the role last night. Frustratingly, we were not told this. Maybe this was part of the answer as to why the show didn't feel at its full energy. Hopefully Carolyn feels much better soon and can return to the role!
After having first seen Ghost performed at GSA a couple of years ago and being wowed, I was so excited to see the touring production was coming to The Lowry.
As we took our seats last night, I was ready to be swept along again in the emotion and pace of the show, which is packed with great songs.
Unfortunately, I came away so, so disappointed.
I'm not sure if everyone was having a bit of an off night, but it was one of the most disappointing professional productions I've seen for a long time.
I'm not going to spend a long time tearing it apart as that just feels negative and unnecessary, but I just wanted to share the five things where I felt the show could really have been lifted.
I'd be really interested to hear the thoughts of anyone else who has seen the production whilst on tour, because looking at the calibre of the cast and team involved I'm struggling to believe the whole tour was presented in the way the show was last night.
1) Sam (Andy Moss) and Mollie seemed to be struggling with some of their vocals. It felt like they were straining for the big notes and that their voices were tired, and 'Here Right Now' in particular was very pitchy.
2) The American accents were very hit and miss for most characters, apart from Jacqui Dubois as Ode Mae Brown, who offered the most confident and polished performance of the night.
3) The choreography wasn't particularly innovative, and felt quite flat throughout. When I've seen the show before, songs like 'More and More' have been much more high energy and exciting.
4) The special effects, which I'd previously heard were very impressive, were very simple and it was clear how they were being achieved. Maybe this is because special effects on stage have come on leaps and bounds since Ghost first began, but I think a lot more could have been done for that 'wow' factor.
5) The combination of these factors and others meant I just didn't feel much emotion at all. It's a highly charged show, a brilliant story and has some beautiful songs, and last time I saw it I was an emotional wreck. I do get moved to tears fairly often (it's a running joke among my friends), but last night I felt none of that. I just let it wash over me.
I'm going to leave this here as there's not much more to say; I was just really sad to come away feeling so differently to the way I expected.
I'm usually incredibly lucky with theatre. I go to an awful lot of shows and do seem to pick brilliant ones, but last night reminded me that, sometimes, things can't all just be fantastic!
Hopefully, last night was a bit of an off night and I just got unlucky. The cast clearly have a lot of experience between them, so I don't doubt they could pull off a great show. Unfortunately, last night was just not the night for that.