Star Casting: Don’t be so hard on Sarah Harding
Last week, the highly anticipated new production of GHOST the musical kicked off its UK Tour at London’s New Wimbledon Theatre starring pop singer Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud (the one that Cheryl Cole was in).
Over the past few days a tyrant of abuse has been thrown at the singer for apparently giving a less than favourable performance as the lead character Molly. Audio clips have surfaced online of the show and people aren’t holding back from expressing their opinions on social media. One tweeter who was at the show said “Sam Wheat wasn’t the only one who was murdered tonight in Ghost. Sarah Harding murdered the whole show”.
But then there is the other side to the arguement with people saying things like “putting Sarah Harding on stage is such a mistake when she can’t perform it. I think it could be neglect” and “Bill Kenwright has hung Sarah Harding out to dry in ghost the musical”.
If any one of us was in her position and got offered the lead role in a big UK touring show then who wouldn’t snap up the opportunity? I remember seeing Sienna Miller play the role of Sally Bowles in Cabaret on Broadway and feeling sad that she wasn’t very good but she was clearly giving 100% of herself to the role. It wasn’t her fault, she was just taking a chance she had been given. Don’t blame the star for the star casting, blame the people behind the scenes for letting someone like that take on the role if they aren’t up to it (if that is the case). It feels a lot like poor Sarah Harding has been thrown into the lions den and is being ripped apart by audience members and theatre performers alike.
It is understandable that trained theatre performers are less than happy that once again a ‘celebrity’ has been cast in a role that perhaps many trained professionals could do a much better job at, but they should also be more understanding of the work she has put in to this role and the horror she must be experiencing with all this abuse. And she still has to go on stage eight times a week whilst having her confidence severely knocked.
What the press make of the show remains to be seen and with a press night not having been scheduled yet, so it might be a while before critics get a chance to have their say. Unfortunately for the show, the social media age we are living in means that the audience aren’t under any embargo like the press may be. They have paid for their tickets and are within their rights to express their opinions publicly if they choose to.
But if the show is as bad as people are saying (and I have no idea what the truth is), should we really be pointing the blame at the pop star whose only crime has been accepting a job that she has been told she will be suitable for? I don’t think so.
Don’t be so hard on Harding.
GHOST – THE MUSICAL | UK TOUR DATES 2016
Thursday 1 – Saturday 10 September
Box Office: 0844 871 7646
New Theatre Wimbledon
Monday 12- Saturday 17 September
Box Office: 0844 871 3012
Monday 19 – Saturday 24 September
Box Office: 0844 871 3011
Monday 26 September – Saturday 1 October
Box Office: 0844 871 3022
Monday 3 – Saturday 15 October
Box Office: 0844 856 1111
Blackpool Opera House
Monday 17 – Saturday 22 October
Box Office: 029 2087 8889
Cardiff New Theatre
Tuesday 25 – Saturday 29 October
Box Office: 0844 871 7660
Manchester Palace Theatre
Monday 31 October – Saturday 5 November
Box Office: 0844 871 3020
Oxford New Theatre
Tuesday 8 November – 12 November
Box Office: +353 (1) 677 7999
Dublin, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre
Monday 14 – Saturday 19 November
Box Office: 0844 848 2700
Monday 21 – Saturday 26 November
Box Office: 0844 871 3014
Monday 28 November – Saturday 3 December
Box Office: 0115 989 5555
Theatre Royal Nottingham