When reviewing the West End production of Ghost on this site last summer, I commented that it was a show that deserved ‘to live’. Having closed in London last October and enjoyed an all too short Broadway run, Ghost now lives on in a brand new touring version which opened recently at the Wales Millennium Centre. Happily – and unusually for a touring production – it retains the best elements of the West End production with strong performances, amazing illusions (by Paul Kieve) and some stunning video and projection designs.

Ghost is a rare example of a large-scale show that actually delivers a story of real gut-renching heart that the audience can connect with and be satisfied by on more than one level. The stage adaptation (by Bruce Joel Rubin, directed  by Matthew Warchus) is also a stand-alone – although originally a hit film (starring Patrick Swayze, Demi Moore and Whoopi Goldberg), it doesn’t depend on the film for clarity or strength. And those who have seen the film should appreciate the stage version on a completely new level.

Walking back to their new Brooklyn apartment one night, Sam and Molly are mugged, and banker Sam is shot dead. Sam is then trapped between this world and the next – he’s a ghost who follows Molly in order to protect her. The actual emotion of this love story is quite intense as played out here by Stewart Clarke and Rebecca Trehearn. Clarke is a striking and vibrant Sam, although slightly underplays the emotion at the beginning of the piece when Sam and Molly plan their future life together. Trehearn conveys the raw emotion of losing someone you love succinctly, and both the frustration and hopefulness of a girl trying to move on with her life. Both soar in their various rock and pop infused solos and duets (which all effectively fit the context of the show), penned by Dave Stewart and Glen Ballard.

The emotion of Sam and Molly’s love story is combined with a humourous subplot involving a phoney clairvoyant by the name of Oda Mae Brown (played by the appropriately named Wendy Mae Brown who comes into her own in a couple of gospel style songs). Sam connects with Oda and uses her to communicate to Molly, and keep the demands of his former banking buddy Carl (an always on the edge David Roberts) at bay.

Slick and modern video and projection designs (Jon Driscoll) skilfully convey the busy and chaotic lifestyle of living in New York, as does Rob Howell’s multi-purpose set and Ashley Wallen’s innovative choreography which propels the various ensemble characters through a number of changing locations and circumstances. Paul Kieve’s illusions still have to be seen to be believed (since when did someone walk through a door in a musical?), and the iconic love scene between Sam and Molly at the potter’s wheel is naturally included, along with the equally iconic ‘Unchained Melody’. Only the hardest hearts will be dry eyed during the moving conclusion to this emotionally powerful and funny show about undying love. Ghost does indeed live on, and this stylish production will haunt theatregoers for some time.