Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Is Girls Aloud Star Sarah Harding Any Good?
Former Girls Aloud singer Sarah Harding has attracted a lot of attention for her new role in Ghost The Musical. First of all for it being her stage debut but, of late, because she pulled out of performances ill, a day after being savagedly criticised by some theatre-goers for "screeching like a banshee".
A Hollyoaks hunk plays the role made famous by Patrick Swayze
Ghost The Musical has now reached Birmingham's New Alexandra Theatre where Harding was back centre stage. The supernatural love story remains in Birmingham from September 19 to 24 where Harding is scheduled to appear every night.
While Harding sounds in no way like a banshee, the problem is that her vocal range doesn't meet those needed for the role. They're shaky at times and her acting is on a par with her singing. It's even more apparent next to the rest of the cast as her singing quality is far weaker in comparison.
Although to be fair, Harding did gain confidence as the show went on and during songs within her comfort zone, especially at the start of the second act like Rain/Hold On.
Sarah Harding falls short vocally in Ghost the Musical
The songs in Ghost The Musical aren't the most memorable, despite being mainly written by Dave Stewart of The Eurythmics, but when you have a safe pair of theatre hands like Jacqui Dubois as phoney psychic Oda Mae, she can do them justice.
It's no surprise that the best scenes involve those with the psychic and ghost Sam, who is stuck between heaven and earth after being murdered, leaving his girlfriend Molly alone and distraught.
Unchained Melody stands out far above everything else, which Hollyoaks hunk Andy Moss, in the lead role as Sam, sang well.
There's some great moments with lighting and special effects too and I particularly liked how they showed corpses turning into ghosts and what happens after. The subway ghost, played by Garry Lee Netley, gave a real energy to the show too.
Comedy scenes from a wonderful Jacqui Dubois as Oda Mae alongside the romance in Ghost
Ghost the Musical isn't a bad show but when there's a weak link, it brings the whole production down.
I realise that celebrity names can put bums on seats but I wish producers would realise that it's far better for a show to reach its potential with a 'no name' than be disappointing with an unsuitable famous face.
Ghost The Musical New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham 19 -24 September, 2016 Running time: 2h 30m Tickets cost from £14.90 to £52.90 from the ATG theatre website.
Ghost also plays in the Midlands at Malvern Festival Theatre in 2017 from April 3 - 8, 2017. Tickets are available from the Malvern theatre website.