Ghost the Musical, Mayflower, Southampton, until Saturday, November 9.

The effects are special indeed in this spectacular stage version of Ghost, the classic weepie which once upon a time starred Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore on the big screen.

Were we really in a speeding underground train spinning round? Did Sam really shove his arm through that door? And did those baddies really get carried off by avenging furies?

Yes, we saw it all on a dazzling night in which anything seemed possible, especially the supernatural – a slick production packed with the tightest of dance moves and fine performances all round.

But maybe, just maybe, its heart wasn’t quite there.

We were blasted rather than made to blub in a show which was endlessly impressive but strangely unmoving.

Part of the problem is that the show doesn’t seem to have any big stand-out tunes that whizz round your head for days afterwards (I’m still humming Evita from two weeks ago); part of the problem was also that so much of the singing seemed to struggle against the sheer weight of the orchestration. Too many of the lyrics were lost along the way in a show which at times seemed to seek its aural impact in volume alone.

Perhaps what it was truly missing was the intimacy of emotion, particularly grief, which grabbed you by the heart strings in the original movie.

But maybe it’s best to remember that different forms bring different pleasures. Ghost The Musical isn’t Ghost the movie; it’s a very different version for a very different medium, and at the Mayflower, it’s served up with huge energy and skill.

Rebecca Trehearn has got a voice to die for as Molly Jensen, which is exactly what her boyfriend Sam does, mugged and murdered in a cruel set-up in a New York back street.

Suspended somewhere between this life and the next, the slightly-undead and invisible Sam (Stewart Clarke) tumbles to the treachery which brought about his demise and realises that his beloved in Molly is in mortal danger.

David Roberts is terrific as the villain of the piece, and Wendy Mae Brown revives happy memories of Whoopi Goldberg as Oda Mae Brown, the fake medium who realises to her horror that her powers are rather better than she thought – a modern-day Arcati and a role she delivers with superb coming timing.

It would have been good to have needed the Kleenex; and it would have been nice to have been humming the tunes the day after. But even so, this is still an epic night at the theatre.

Phil Hewitt