Sharon Cain, Time for Life Correspondent
Beware The Bewitching Hour! 2:22 – A Ghost Story
(L-R) Nathaniel Curtis as Sam, Joe Absolom as Ben, Charlene Boyd as Lauren and Louisa Lytton as Jenny. Photo by Johan Persson.
Staying up late might not have the same appeal after a performance of 2:22 – A Ghost Story
, an acclaimed West End thriller now passing through the UK.
The countdown is underway as time hurtles relentlessly to the bewitching hour in a plot imbued with diverse themes and powerful social dynamics.
Peeling away a multiplicity of layers on relationships, beliefs spanning class systems, religion, the supernatural – and peppered with the complexities and diametrically opposed personalities of the key players.
The bare bones of the plot centres around unearthly goings on in a London house owned by married couple Jenny and Sam who have a baby daughter, Phoebe.
Jenny, (The Bill, Eastender’s
Ruby Allen), is convinced the house is haunted, having heard a man crying and footsteps in Phoebe’s bedroom via the baby monitor in the lounge for consecutive nights at 2:22.
Stressed and permanently exhausted, her worries fall on deaf ears with ‘know it all’ bordering on obnoxious Scientist husband, Sam, (Nathaniel Curtis It’s a Sin, The Witcher
), who abrasively dismisses her fears.
Nathaniel Curtis as Sam and Louisa Lytton as Jenny.
Photo by Johan Persson.
To blow off some steam, the couple invite their good friend Lauren (Charlene Boyd, Mayflies, River City
) - and Ben (Joe Absolom, A Confession, Doc Martin
) her new down to earth flame who is a builder and spiritualist for supper.
A relaxed social gathering turns into an ordinarily long night waiting for the clock to strike 2:22 after Jenny has persuaded them all to sit it out and see if there is a plausible explanation for the up to now unexplainable.
Fuelled by copious bottles of wine (Ben does not partake), relationships unravel as characters battle their own ghosts.
A sequence of bizarre events, heated debates, references to foxes take centre stage - where the eponymous virtual assistant Alexa also plays a supporting role.
Charlene Boyd as the complicated, high-spirited and vulnerable Lauren, a mental health specialist who downs such large quantities of wine mixed with pills that she throws up, is terrific.
Joe Absolom as Ben and Charlene Boyd as Lauren.
Photo by Johan Persson.
Sharing her regrets and innermost disappointments with her life and relationships, she delivers an outstanding performance, closely followed by Joe Absolom who shines as the multi-faceted Ben.
As expected, a séance is thrown into the mix by award-winning writer Danny Robins. Hailed as a ‘paranormal powerhouse’, his write up in the theatre programme on the paranormal ‘goings on’ that inspired him is fascinating.
Littered with an over-abundance of high-pitched shrieks and shouting, the thriller wasn’t a screaming success for me personally.
However, nothing can detract from the impact of its unexpected and electric finale.
Directed by Matthew Dunster and Isabel Marr, 2:22 – A Ghost Story
plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tue 19 – Sat 23 September 2023. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk
or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.
The thriller is touring the UK and can be seen at the following venues:
Edinburgh Sept 26- September 30, 2023
Salford, The Lowry – October 31-November 4, 2023
Sheffield, Lyceum – February 13-17, 2024
Liverpool, Empire – April 2-6, 2024
Blackpool Grant – April 23-26, 2024
York, Grand Opera House April 30-May 4, 2024
Sunderland Empire – May 21-25, 2024
Bradford Alhambra Theatre May 28- June 1,2024
for more information Tour Dates | 2:22 A Ghost Story