REVIEW: Ghost The Musical, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, until March 18.

Carolyn Maitland gives an outstanding performance as excited anticipation turns to deepest despair with the bang of a gun.

Ghost - Andy Moss & Carolyn Maitland - cPamela Raith
Ghost - Andy Moss & Carolyn Maitland - cPamela Raith

But inevitably, it’s Jacqui Dubois in the Whoopi Goldberg role of Oda Mae who proves the night’s scene-stealer in this cracking revival of the modern classic musical, Ghost.

Now in the hands of producer Bill Kenwright, it’s a more focused production we get, much more intent on the story than the last touring production a few years ago, much less strident, much less flashy and all the better for it.

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And in Dubois, the production has got the perfect charlatan who discovers that she might just have a genuine hotline to the afterlife after all.

Dubois is the perfect foil for the intense, grieving Molly, a role into which Maitland steps with consummate skill, capturing all the emotional openness the role needs alongside all the pain and fragility.

Playing the Swayze to Maitland’s Demi Moore is Andy Moss as Sam, and again, it’s an excellent performance on a night which grows and grows, paced nicely throughout and ingeniously staged as we switch venues in the blink an eye but always with a real sense of New York.

There are some cracking big ballads in here, and the cast respond accordingly. The 1990 film drags just a little in places and certainly droops a little here and there.

But this is a fresh and vibrant new stage version, packing a supernatural punch with plenty of charm to spare, full of romance spiced up by a race against the clock to stop the villains and safeguard sweet Molly. Great stuff – and thoroughly enjoyable.

Phil Hewitt

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