The Sunshine Ghost
- Kelly Apter
- 10 October 2017
New Scottish musical has yet to fully warm up
With the same musicals popping up in theatres year after year, the arrival of a new kid on the block is, in theory, to be welcomed. But if The Sunshine Ghost is to have any chance of longevity, it needs to re-think its aim.
If storytelling is the only goal, then it scores: the tale of a rich American who transplants a Scottish castle from one continent to another, brick by brick, is suitably well told. Inspired by 1936 British film, The Ghost Goes West, the show is part ghost story (the castle comes complete with an uninvited 'guest'), part love story with a lively song neatly tucked into every available crevice, to drive the narrative along.
Much of which works well – there is no shortage of passion or commitment from the six-strong cast, either in character or voice. Neshla Caplan in particular, as the billionaire's cynical and frustrated daughter, brings real characterisation and skill to the role. Although in truth, there are no weak links here – it's a quality cast, working with an imaginative set and staging.
But are strong performances and a diverse songbook enough to hold an audience for two hours? Not yet. The Sunshine Ghost has barely left the page for the stage, and in time it may well grow into something worthy of a long-term place in the musical theatre canon. For that to happen, however, co-writers Andy Cannon and Richard Ferguson need to inject a good deal more humour into the show or crank up the dramatic tension. Preferably both.
Reviewed at Edinburgh Festival Theatre Studio