Rebecca Moore gets the chance to recreate a famous scene from one of her favourite movies from childhood and finds that truth is sometimes stranger than fiction

On the face of it, a romantic fantasy thriller in which the hero gets killed early on and spends the remainder of the film in a semi-transparent form while pushing pennies along walls doesn’t seem like an immediate smash-hit.

But throw in a blob of clay, a few whispered “dittos” and a hat-wearing psychic and you have yourself a classic.

I haven’t watched the film Ghost for years – mainly due to the fact that since Patrick Swayze’s death from pancreatic cancer in 2009 it’s felt somehow weird and sad to revisit it. After all, not only was Swayze young, healthy and playing an actual dead person in the film – he was also ravishingly handsome and it seems unthinkable that such beauty can ever die.

Before his death, however, I watched this film every year and have been watching it (rightly or wrongly) since the age of eight. As a girl, I remember being transfixed by the idea that people could still hang around after death. The love story was pretty powerful stuff, and I would sob for far longer than necessary at the final scene (which I won’t go in to in detail in case anyone hasn’t seen it). Although, I imagine you can gather from the title that some kind of tragedy ensues. In fact, at early theatrical screenings in Mexico, women audience members were given boxes of tissues before the film even started. How’s that for optimism?

And yes, of course, there was that oh-so-seductive pottery scene in which the young lovers get raunchy around a potting wheel. Patrick Swayze believed that the famous scene was one of the sexiest he ever shot: “It was pretty sexy playing in that clay, so all [Demi and I] had to do was go with it; let our imaginations run wild, and then touch each other’s arms for the sparks to fly... we managed to capture a moment that made everything that happened later in the story feel more wrenching and emotional.”

I’ve been invited along to the New Theatre, Oxford – where the musical stage show is currently playing – to see whether I can reconstruct the scene with even an inch of that steaminess.

Sam and Molly – played by Stewart Clarke and Rebecca Trehearn – are already sitting by the infamous pottery wheel on stage under bright lights.

I’m fascinated to find out that Rebecca actually had to learn how to form clay for the part – a fact she immediately demonstrates to create some real-life pottery. Just as well because for a moment I was worried this photoshoot would become just too raunchy without some good old fashioned earthenware.

Watching the pair of actors together, I’m struck by how swift their transformation from giggly co-workers into sexually charged lovers is: all Stewart has to do is wrap one (incredibly muscular) arm around Rebecca’s waist and gently caress her arm and I’m transported back to my wide eyed – if slightly awkward – ten-year-old self staring at the television screen. Sparks really do fly.

Rebecca manages to maintain stoic focus on her lump of clay that she magically spins into a vase-like shape. Stewart gently hums and sings the theme tune gently into Rebecca’s ear as they stroke, hold and caress one another for the photocall. I’m standing off to the side, thinking how awkward it must be to get steamy on stage night after night to Unchained Melody while caressing some clay when the photographer indicates that it’s my turn.

The tagline to the story may be BELIEVE, but I sure as heck do not believe I want to do this. As a young girl I wanted to be in this scene, sure. But – as with so many fantasies – the idea that clay and some overly oppressive lighting can be sexy is a larger leap than the one Sam makes to the afterlife.

“Molly” in her dungarees unwraps herself from the very much alive “Sam” and I take her place between his legs. I immediately have the urge to jam my fingers into the clay vase that she has so lovingly brought to life just to take the awkwardness from the situation.

The stage show has to differ somewhat from the film, of course, and the fact it’s a musical makes it very special indeed. Stewart reminds me of the musical portion of the show by singing gently into my ear too and – without swooning – I realise that my life is sometimes more surreal than the film itself ever was.

Bringing that surrealism to life has been a massive trial for the crew who have had to achieve special effects which are easy to achieve on film, but incredibly difficult on stage. For example, trying to force Stewart with his beefcake arms seamlessly through a seemingly solid wall is task number one. Indeed, due to its many elements of technology and stage illusion the show is trumpeted as the most technically complex production to ever tour the United Kingdom.

Who ever would have imagined that a short scene, involving some dungarees, an iconic song and a lump of clay would ever garner this much attention 24 years later? I suppose it did because – as Swayze rightly pointed out – it captures something that only enhances the emotion of the later story.

Why we as an audience react to Ghost was shown to me in those fleeting seconds as Stewart and Rebecca broke from giggly co-workers into sensual, attentive lovers.

There is an essence to love that can be captured in an instant by a camera lens and remembered eternally. The story reminds us that those moments in life live on even after us, somehow.

Judging by the quality of the set, and the skills of the actors – and not to mention the great work of that pottery wheel – I can guess that watching an iconic moment like this on stage can have a similar effect.

Just remember to take your tissues – men and women alike.