Archive for the ‘Manchester’ Tag

Ghost the Musical at The Opera House

I wasn’t going to write about Ghost the Musical. I was embracing the idea of going to see a performance where I didn’t need to make notes throughout. Yet I’ve changed my mind. Ghost the Musical deserves to be written about.

Having only found out I was going to the World Premier five hours before the curtain lifted it’s fair to say my excitement levels were pretty high. I’d seen the preview at the Royal Exchange Theatre last year and interviewed some of the cast and crew so had big expectations.

From the haunting opener ‘Here Right Now’ I relaxed into my seat safe in the knowledge that these were being met. Caissie Levy takes to the role of Molly effortlessly with her vocals offering shivers to the spines of the audience. She’s joined by Richard Fleeshman as Sam and Andrew Langtree as Carl who are both more than capable of pulling off their roles.

Aside from the vocal performances, what really make Ghost the Musical stand out are the special effects and illusions. Although Sam walking through a door appeared a bit underwhelming at first, the techies sorted that out and it genuinely was quite the spectacle.

Perhaps it was Bruce Joel Rubin’s continued involvement that has meant the musical maintains the high standards the film did. With Matthew Warchus ably directing and music and lyrics from the musical geniuses that are Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard, the finished product seemed incredibly refined for the first performance.

Sharon D Clarke’s performance as Oda Mae adds real moments of comedy to the show. When she and the ensemble took to the stage for ‘I’m Outta Here’ smiles filled the room with her overall character perfectly tuned to the role.

Of course, the musical has been modernised a bit. I highly doubt Demi and Patrick would’ve been taking photos of themselves on a digital camera and Oda Mae’s most recent account of fraud was in 2004, but with technology being the reason the performance has come to life, it’s only fitting the scenes have been brought to the present day.

So yes, I wasn’t planning on writing anything about Ghost the Musical. In all fairness, I wasn’t planning on watching it until its West End run, but I simply can’t praise it enough. For the World Premiere, I was stunned everything ran seamlessly.

Buy tickets here.

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Joshua Radin and Justin Nozuka at Manchester Academy

First things first, I had been very excited about this gig for some time and as such, I could have a slightly biased view of it. But all you really need to know is that both artists were amazing. If you still need to know more then here are some more words to describe it…

With both Nozuka and Radin having toured with Missy Higgins before, my excitement for the concert was already heightened. Throw in the fact that I’ve previously seen Radin live at the Hard Rock Café and knew of his incredible musical talents and you get a picture of the energy that was buzzing through me before I even left my flat.

Justin Nozuka

Nozuka took to the stage for his half an hour set opening with Carried Away. His vocals were much stronger than is evident on his album and I was immediately impressed. As he continued with a mix of songs from Holly and You I Wind Land Sea I couldn’t help but find myself entranced by him. Whilst his conversation with the crowd wasn’t a patch on what Radin was about to offer, his songs were performed so well that what was said between them didn’t matter.

Be Back Soon, Golden Train and Mr Therapy Man all had the Nozuka fans in the audience singing along whilst the tracks from his newer release seemed to be slower burners. Unbroken Man brought the tempo down in the same way that his final song, Heartless, did. All in all it was a very impressive eight song set from the young Canadian.

Setlist:

Carried You
Be Back Soon
Golden Train
Mr Therapy Man
Unwoken Dream
How Low
After Tonight
Heartless

Joshua Radin

From the moment he casually strolled onto the stage, to the moment he departed through the crowd, Joshua Radin had the audience in the palm of his hand. If there’s anything that this guy doesn’t know about how to woo a crowd then it’s not worth knowing. Marriage proposals were aplenty from the females, with one ambitious guy offering his own scream of “Marry me Joshua” only for a polite refusal from the man with the guitar.

Why haven’t I mentioned his music yet? I hear you ask, or think rhetorically as the case may be. Well it’s quite simply because Radin is the epitome of an artist who (wait for it…) has a lot more than the music to offer. He crafts a relationship with the audience, be that with his questions as to the name of that guy who does a Sunday morning show on Radio 2 (“I think he’s a Sir or something, I should know his name”) or through his endless ramblings about Australia after he thought he’d heard someone say they were from there.

Vocally his talents were obvious to all – he even walked away from his microphone at the end of No Envy, No Fear, filling the room with his unadulterated voice. Each song tells its own story but Radin was always on hand to offer more insight into his mindset at the time of writing. Many of the night’s highlights were songs from his forthcoming album, The Rock and the Tide, with the title track being about the first time he had a crush. He admits that his previous two albums were written about break ups so it was different for him to venture into new territories with this third offering.

A new sound has come about with the latest songs to. Radin put aside his acoustic guitar in favour of an electric for several tracks including a personal favourite of mine, The Ones with The Light, which had the crowd parted in two to sing (or scream as it turned out) a different line in the chorus.

After telling the crowd about how people often go on dates to his concerts, Radin joked about couples arguing and finding new partners in the room, before clarifying that the song he was about to play, Today, was not about polygamy.

After a bout of rock numbers from his third album he returned to the fan favourite with his biggest UK hit I’d Rather Be With You getting the most enthusiastic reception from the crowd before his whisper rock style kept us enthralled in Winter.

As we cheered for an encore, the sound of acoustic guitars could be heard behind us so we raced to the back of the room to find Radin and his two guitarists had made their way to the middle of the venue and performed one last track for us all in his typical unplugged fashion.

Overall, I am still struggling to sum up the evening in comprehendible sentences. Radin is a sublime performer and I cannot recommend him highly enough.

Setlist:

No Envy, No Fear
Everything’ll Be Alright
Closer
Think I’ll Go Inside
The Rock and The Tide
Today
Brand New Day
One of Those Days
The Ones with The Light
We Are Only Getting Better
Here We Go
Nowhere To Go
You Got What I Need
I’d Rather Be With You
Winter
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I didn’t catch the name of the encore

Joshua Radin and Justin Nozuka
Manchester Academy 1
17/10/10

Justin Nozuka (not looking so great) and I.