Viv Hardwick goes Ghost-hunting with musical stars Wendy Mae Brown, Rebecca Trehearn and Stewart Clarke, who are earning rave reviews on tour

GHOST The Musical, complete with potter’s wheel and various renditions of Unchained Melody is already making a spirited fist of its debut UK tour, but I can’t help but be tempted on the cast’s views about the dead rising again.

Should it be a surprise that psychic-playing Wendy Mae Brown firmly believes in getting an answer if she asks, “Is there anybody there?”, while parted-by-death young leads Rebecca Trehearn and Stewart Clarke profess solid skepticism.

“Yes I do believe, I’ve had evidence,” says Mae Brown, who must surely have been destined by fate to play the role of Oda Mae Brown, created so successfully in the 1990 film by Whoopi Goldberg.

“I went to mediums like Sally Morgan, before she was famous, after my father died and I found out things that I needed to know. They told me things that it was impossible for others to know.

I haven’t seen a ghost as such, and the mediums helped me with thoughts and feelings,” says Mae Brown, whose father died in 2000.

Trehearn, who brings pottery-making Molly Jensen to life, laughs at the questions and says: “No, I’m a cynic, although that’s not the most politic answer to give for a show like this.”

Stewart Clarke, who spends most of the performance as the ghost of murdered Sam Wheat, adds: “I think it’s a really fun idea but common sense says differently. I like the idea of it and the mythology used in the film and stageplay, but in real life… No.”

This is a tough answer from a man who is playing a ghost I tell him.

“Well, I suppose when you’re playing a ghost you realise how stupid it is. When you’re breathing as a ghost you think, ‘I really shouldn’t need to breath’. Or I get an itch and have to scratch.

What am I scratching for, there’s nothing there?” Clarke says.

Trehearn feels that the suspension of disbelief came to the rescue in her case. “At the end of the day I can hold my opinions, but they are not the same as Molly’s. I think it is a testament to the strength of the writing (the script was adapted by film creator Bruce Joel Rubin) that the plot sweeps you along every night and you can’t help but get emotionally involved in it,” she says.

For Clarke, the feelings are more like that of watching illusionist Derren Brown in action.

“You know it’s all trickery, but you watch it and you can’t help but think, ‘Well that just happened, so it must be real’. But you know it’s not. These psychics are really clever and, as it says in act two, they have these techniques that will find things out about you,” he says.

Trehearn adds: “I think you can look for things.

Something can happen and you don’t think twice about it, but you can ascribe what happens to a reason. It’s wishful thinking a lot of the time.”

Trehearn is getting her chance to shine in the afterlife, partly thanks to songs co-written by ex- Eurythmics and Sunderland star Dave Stewart, having understudied the role during the shortish West End run. The man with the Ghost of Patrick Swayze – who starred in the film with Demi Moore – on his shoulders, Clarke, is fresh out of Warwick University and owes his stage ability in part to the National Youth Music Theatre.

The musical, which opened in 2011, has gone on tour with a huge budget of £1m and far more sophisticated sets, electronics and computer software to ensure the audience enjoys a rollercoaster ride through the bustling streets of New York.

Even the fact that Clark’s character Sam is an investment banker hasn’t taken the gloss off a series of superb reviews.

‘WE’RE very proud of the show, as is everyone. But I think regional audiences are more likely to come along and enjoy the show rather than pick holes in it,” says Trehearn.

“Yes, I see this as my big moment because my career has been a bit of a slog. You do that up to a point before thinking, ‘Is anyone ever going to take a punt on me?’ So I was thrilled when they did.”

Clarke says: “I’ve had quite an unconventional route because I didn’t do the whole training and dancing thing. I did stuff at university and I’m learning things now on the job.

“What is weird is that we have to create an entire relationship in about 20 minutes, and not even that because I spend half my time at the bank. So, it’s about ten minutes to show the audience that these guys love each other and how much impact there is when Sam dies.”

Mae Brown would love to continue the tour when it finishes in March next year.

“I’d like to take the show around the world. I think it’s one of those shows that has the same kind of appeal as Mamma Mia. Our assistant director is opening a new show in Korea even as we speak,” she says.

“If we take out the odd bit of swearing I think this show would be ideal family entertainment for a run in Orlando, Florida,” Mae Brown adds.

Coming back to Ghosts, I ask if she feels the presence of her father – the Jamaican Ska trumpeter Dave Brown – when she looks out at the audience.

“He was with me on opening night. He was quite famous as a session musician, having worked with Miles Davis and Dizzee Gillespie, and that’s where I get my love of music. He was there because I felt that, ‘Get yourself ready girl’ moment when his hand was on my shoulder. He does things like turning lights on and off, so I know he’s there and this usually happens when I’m misbehaving or I’m worried.

“If you don’t believe then you’ll think I’m talking rubbish, but I felt him there.”

  • Ghost The Musical, Tuesday, November 26 to Saturday, December 7. Tickets: £10-£39.50. Box Office: 0844-871-3022