GHOST is one of the great, timeless love stories and will always have a loyal following.

The hankies were out and there was a standing ovation at the Liverpool Empire to prove it on the opening night of this stylish and slick UK touring production.

Comparisons will always be made with the 1990 Oscar-winning film which won many fans with its chemistry between Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze and the comedy of Whoopi Goldberg.

Here producer Bill Kenwright has eased-off on the special effects as seen in other versions.

The main thrust and thread here is the storyline - a tale of love and loss, grief and ultimately hope.

This musical has a book by the creator Bruce Joel Rubin and songs by The Eurythmics' Dave Stewart and singer-songwriter Glen Ballard.

A powerful score and choreography and much-loved universal theme drives it all along nicely.

There is also the magical Unchained Melody in different forms.

The Righteous Brothers' 1965 hit is the perfect romantic anthem.

Full praise to the musicans under conductor Tim Whiting.

The violin and cello add beautiful shades of melancholy.

We see Molly and Sam move into their super cool New York apartment and we also meet Carl who, it is hinted, has a 'thing' about his best friend's girl.

This is cleverly put over by Sam Ferriday as the 'not-what-he-seems' Carl.

Carolyn Maitland is marvelous as Molly - a delightful dab hand at the potter's wheel.

Andy Moss plays our ill-fated hero, Sam, who works in the city.

They are deeply in love and yet he has difficulty telling her so.

Carolyn has tremendous range on the heart-wrenching With You and Nothing Stops Another Day.

She reminded me, at times, of the great Karen Carpenter.

While Andy brings out the despair in his character's fate and whose life is cut short by a fatal mugging.

The subway ghost and hospital spirit both flesh out the story, so to speak, in very distinctive ways.

Both add extra gravitas to the story.

And then there's Oda Mae played by Jacqui Dubois.

She doesn't put a foot wrong with her comic timing and belting voice notably on I'm Outta Here.

Oda Mae provides plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as the odd ball pyschic reluctantly drafted in by Sam to help him save his beloved Molly.

Director Bob Tomson and producer Kenwright are an accomplished team. Seeing the magnificent New York backdrop made me think about another of their crowd-pleasing triumphs - Blood Brothers.

There is also a moral in this modern day tale - tell someone you love them before it's too late. 


Four stars - touching, tender and terrific.

The show is at the Liverpool Empire until Saturday.

Tickets are from the box office on 0844 871 3017.