Love that transcends death: Ghost the Musical coming to the Millennium Forum

Theatre star Jacqui Dubois on her prophetic encounter with Demi Moore, channelling Whoopi Goldberg and giving Derry a dose of classic Hollywood romance this Valentine's

Last month Derry~Londonderry fawned over a mural of self-referential comedy. This month it's time to fall in love all over again as West End spectacular Ghost the Musical takes to the city's Millennium Forum just in time for Valentine's Day.

Almost 30 years since the original cult classic starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore, it dawns on me that there exists a whole new generation who haven't yet been properly introduced to this romance for the ages; the iconic pottery scene delved into cinematic history, 'Unchained Melody' and all the 'Dittos' a heart can take.

Sticking strictly to the original script by Bruce Joel Rubin, Ghost the Musical centres around the murder of Sam Wheat, who returns as a protective spirit to watch over his partner Molly Jensen – with the guidance of a formidable but reluctant pyschic, Oda Mae Brown.

In what has been hailed as a career-defining role for Whoopi Goldberg and a self-declared 'favourite character [he's] ever written' for Rubin, Oda Mae provides a comical lightness amid heavy philosophical ponderings. Embodying the spirit of the role with the same dry wit and larger than life persona, seasoned-veteran of theatrical performance, Jacqui Dubois does not disappoint.

Ghost artwork

Catching up with Culture NI, Dubois promises that the musical re-imagining doesn't wander too far from the film. 'Even the lyrics are taken directly from the movie script, it is very similar,' she assures. 'Every line harkens back to the film.'

And it was this meticulous attention to detail by composers and lyricists David A. Stewart and Glen Ballard which attracted Dubois to the production to begin with. 'It's a really fantastic script, written well and I was drawn to it immediately. But after auditioning it took quite some time before I heard anything back.'

Accrediting 'the funny synchronicity of life', Dubois' chance meeting with none other than Demi Moore in the interim, convinced her fellow actors that good news was just around the corner. 'I actually met Demi when I was performing in People, Places and Things. The cast took this as a sure sign that I would bag the role of Oda Mae,' she laughs. 'Sure enough a few days later I got the call confirming that I'd got it.'

Describing Oda Mae as an archetypal lovable rogue, Dubois says the role is a joy to perform. 'She starts off a fraudster only to be pulled in to something she has no control over. Imagine, hearing voices and experiencing things you just don’t understand? She’s a very, very funny character to play.'

Taking Oda Mae and the cast on a world tour, it is clear Ghost the Musical is a beloved favourite wherever it goes. So to what does it owe its mass appeal? For Dubois it’s the timeless, universal nature of its subject matter. 'Every single person alive on this planet thinks about death at some point. Ghost is a comfort story – the bond of love can’t be broken by it.

'It doesn’t have to necessarily allude to a partner but any loved one, mother, father or sibling. Love is stronger than anything and that’s the underlying message.' Ditto to that!

The craft of live theatre in portraying raw emotion, means this musical is sure to pack a punch, certain to haunt you long after you have left your seat. So be prepared to be moved as Dubois advises, 'Bring tissues on the night, a big ol' toilet roll and pass it down the end of of your row. You'll need it.'

With a message that will resonate with each audience member on a different level, you're sure to leave feeling the power of love – a love that transcends death. In the parting words of Sam Wheat, 'The love inside, you take it with you.'

Ghost the Musical is at the Millennium Forum from February 12-16, with an audio described performance available on the 14 for visually impaired or blind. For show times and ticket booking visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk/shows/ghost-the-musical or contact the Box Office on 028 7126 4455.