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Previewed 4 December 1999, opened 13 December 1999, closed 26 February 2000 at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London
David H Bell's Casper the Musical in London for a strictly limited Christmas season
With Steven Speilberg's movie and a top rating television series to his credit, Casper the friendly ghost now makes a spirited entry onto the London stage. He is supported by a talented company in this hi-tech, fast moving, funny, family musical which is certain to raise your spirits.
Musical with music by Henry Marsh and Phil Pickett, lyrics and book by David H Bell, based on the cartoon character created by Joseph Oriolo
The cast features Siobhan Moore as 'Casper', with Glen Bowtell as 'Stinkie', David Jerome as 'Stretch', Marcus James as 'Fatso', Robert Austin as 'Billy Con', John Halmi as 'Donald', and Sarah Louise Day as 'Cathy'.
Directed and choreographed by David H Bell, with designs by Terry Parsons, special effects by Michael F Goldberg, lighting by Nick Richings, and sound by Rick Clarke.
David H Bell's London theatre credits include The Hot Mikado at the Queen's Theatre in 1995.
"Had anyone told me a show born at Butlins and featuring a cast made up largely of former redcoats had aspirations to reach London's West End, I'd have bet my Christmas dinner that it hadn't a ghost of a chance. And I'd have gone hungry on Saturday - for Casper The Musical is not only occupying the swish Shaftesbury Theatre but is a crackerjack of a holiday treat for younger children. Based on the cartoon character turned TV star who Steven Spielberg put into the movies, it is like a mixture of the Rocky Horror Show (without the rude bits) and Michael Jackson's Thriller video. With tuneful soft rock songs by Henry Marsh and Phil Pickett and lyrics and book by David H. Bell, who also directs, Casper is beautifully costumed and stunningly lit. And there are lots of Christmas presents in the shape of inspired flying and acrobatics and even some jokes a lot better than those you'll find in Christmas crackers." The News of the World
"I didn't mind the idea of a show cashing in on the chummy ghostie of the Casper TV series and I couldno't even muster much animosity for the terrible score. But this musical caper struck me as a mirthless derivative performed to blank-faced children who sat, their little faces frozen by its charmlessness. The Mr Whippy-shaped ghosts share the stage with the Undead, a bunch of shockhaired sprites locked into this act of musical tasteless." The Daily Express
"The comic-book phantom is so polite he only spooks when he's spooken to: relentlessly, gurglingly jovial, he's more annoying than a violent poltergeist Fortunately, for parents and children alike, he takes up little space in this brisk, boister ous and potently brainless musical. David H Bell's slick production is dominated by Casper's uncles, an unholy trinity of disreputable spectres who turn a schmaltzy evening into something a bit more subversive and funky... This skeletal plot is only there to showcase ghostly gags, visual effects and musical numbers, which Bell stages with some aplomb... Casper The Musical is slight stuff, presented with considerable polish by the over-employed Bell. He's a good choreographer, a sharp director, an indifferent lyricist and a poor writer. But at least he under stands that children prefer sarcastic, flatulent ghosts to a goody two-shoes like Casper." The London Evening Standard
Casper the Musical in London at the Shaftesbury Theatre previewed from 4 December 1999, opened on 13 December 1999, and closed on 26 February 2000.