Ghost star Sarah Harding was missing from the show’s press night due to illness – but the cast delivered a stellar performance in her absence.
The former Girls Aloud singer missed a week of the tour last month due to a tract infection, and was the subject of some harsh reviews on its launch.
But while Ms Harding may have been under the weather for Ghost: The Musical’s press night at Blackpool Opera House, but it certainly didn’t rain on the parade, as her understudy and the rest of the cast delivered a stellar performance.
The Girls Aloud star has been playing the female lead, Molly, in the musical adaptation of the 1990 film but was too ill to perform on Tuesday night.
Instead it was Kelly Hampson, a relative newcomer to the musical theatre circuit after graduating from the Guildford School of Acting last year, who stepped into the role and her chemistry with Andy Moss was electric.
Both of them did a great job at getting the audience emotionally invested in their young, blossoming relationship, in the short time before Andy’s character Sam is murdered.
The staging was also impressive, quickly changing between scenes and costumes. The effect used when characters were killed, with a dummy appearing on the floor as the characters became ghosts, was seamless and effective.
Actor Andy Moss, who is most-well known for playing Rhys Ashworth in Hollyoaks, surprised with his powerful singing voice and Kelly Hampson moved most of the audience to tears with her emotional performance of ‘With You’.
The supporting cast shone as well with Sam Ferriday brilliantly encapsulating the sly spirit of Carl and Jacqui Dubois stole the show as the hilarious Oda Mae Brown, giving a much needed injection of humour to act as a respite to a story which is essentially about love, loss and betrayal.
As the show moved towards the interval, the songs ‘Suspend My Disbelief’ and ‘I Had a Life’ merged into one with at least ten performers on stage managing to harmonise across two songs brilliantly, peaking with a deafening crescendo before the curtain was brought down.
In the second half, the tension continued to build at a steady pace, right up until the heart-in-mouth finale.
Leo Sené’s accent, who played Puerto Rican murderer Willie Lopez, was distracting at times and Jacqui Dubois’ microphone failed right at the end, but apart from that the show was a roaring success and as the cast reappeared for the curtain call, the house was brought down with thunderous applause.
The show runs at the Opera House until Saturday, October 15.