By Indigo Jones
★ ★ ★ ★
This performance was my first encounter with Kinetic School of Performing arts, and I have to say I was really impressed with the group of talented young people they had to offer. This point is proven through their need to alternate casts to showcase the talent of the group’s members.
The musical takes its storyline from the 1990 Oscar-nominated film of the same name. The plot sees a couple move into their new apartment in Brooklyn and shortly after the male lead is murdered by a mugger. We then see that his ghost is stuck between two worlds, and he uses a psychic to communicate and protect his girlfriend.
As stated previously there were alternate casts, and the cast I was lucky to see included Caz Walsh as the female lead, Molly, originally played by Demi Moore in the film. Walsh made playing this challenging character look effortless. Her ability to thoroughly depict the heartache of losing a loved one was impeccable, and you could truly hear the emotion behind her voice as she sang, this was evident through her take on the famous ballad, ‘With you’. Caz made singing this challenging song look easy, and her performance of the song demonstrated how well she would fit in a west end cast.
The male lead, Sam, was played by Jack Meek, originally played by Patrick Swayze. Caz and Jack’s onstage chemistry was faultless and as a member of the audience, I believed every kiss, every touch and every “ditto” they said. As a result of how believable the relationship was, the audience also felt every pain and emotion the characters felt throughout the show. Meek himself played Sam’s character perfectly, as he showed passion through his incredible singing voice. The couple’s rendition of ‘Unchained Melody’ as well as the traditional pottery scene from the film was faultless, as you could see the sense of pain and longing that the pair felt.
The star of the show, on the other hand, was without a doubt Rhian Holmes, who played Oda Mae Brown, the comical psychic originally played by Whoopi Goldberg. Her comedic timing could not be faulted as she continuously made the audience laugh throughout the show. Her characterisation of Oda Mae was brilliant as she did Whoopi’s own traditionally comedic character justice as she never faltered. She even proved her singing ability through her large musical numbers like “I’m Outta Here” which successfully got the audience dancing.
To end, I must say I don’t think the show itself was my cup of tea. I found it very slow and sometimes repetitive. Saying that this had nothing to do with the talented cast, their ability at such a young age was fascinating. I especially liked the few upbeat ensemble numbers during the show, I believe it showcased that the cast had the ability to perform emotive numbers, yet they could also pick up the pace and dance to a heavily choreographed number. It would be hard to fault the dancing ability of the cast, as there were a number of members of the ensemble who stood out by far! Although some elements of the show perhaps needed some work e.g smoother set changes to create a more professional feeling, I was thoroughly impressed by this amateur dramatic groups ability to give some professional tours a run for their money. If you’re a fan of the film or you love a good ballad this is the show for you, on the other hand, if you prefer a show filled with up-beat dance numbers perhaps pick an alternative.