top of page
  • Writer's pictureNeill Kovacic-Clarke

REVIEW: 2:22 A GHOST STORY @ THEATRE ROYAL PLYMOUTH

🎭 2:22 A Ghost Story

📍 The Lyric, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Royal Parade, Plymouth, Devon, PL1 2TR

🗓 Tuesday 28th November 2023

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



A PARANORMAL SMASH


Supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story has been thrilling audiences in London’s West End since 2021 and is now embarking on its first ever UK tour starring Nathaniel Curtis as Sam, Louisa Lytton as Jenny, Charlene Boyd as Lauren and Joe Absolom as Ben. The show is playing all this week in The Lyric auditorium at Theatre Royal Plymouth and marks the final week of the tour before a cast change.

The play opens with Jenny doing a bit of late night / early morning decorating. There is no dialogue here, just the noises from the baby monitor. As the clock approaches 2:22 the tension builds as we know something is going to happen at this time!


After this short opening, we fast-forward a couple of days and the rest of the story plays out over one night. Sam has returned home late after being away with work, and he and Jenny are welcoming their first house guests. Old friend Lauren and her new partner Ben.



There are two things that are instantly striking about this play. One is that it is immediately engaging. I think the short opening scene creates real intrigue and you straight away want to delve into the story. The other is just how realistic and true the interactions between the characters are. Things such as talking over others and finishing their sentences are exactly how we interact in every day life. The writing by Danny Robins brings realism and relatability to the characters which is wondrous, and rarely seen to this degree.


We follow the story as Jenny explains that whilst Sam was away, she heard strange things in their baby daughters bedroom. Footsteps walking around the cot, and the sound of a man crying. And this had happened every night at exactly 2:22am. Sam believes everything can be explained by science and gets frustrated when Jenny tells their guests about this. Ben is a real believer as too is Lauren, both having had paranormal childhood experiences.



The acting in this piece is superb and Louisa Lytton gives a breathtaking performance as Jenny. You can really hear the fear in her voice as she’s describing her feeling and we see her become more and more afraid and paranoid as the play progresses. I actually felt cold as she spoke which is a real testament to her ability to completely draw the audience in.


Sam is a bit obnoxious and when I last saw the play I really disliked him! However what Nathanial Curtis manages to do is humanise him a lot more and give him warmth, and I found myself empathising a lot with him. He is after all the only one of the foursome who is a non-believer.


We have to remember that what we’re seeing is a snapshot of these characters lives and even though there is this obvious tension between Jenny and Sam, there’s no denying that they really love each other.



Jenny convinces the group to wait until 2:22 to see what happens, even though Sam protests. As the night goes on relationships become strained as tensions are high, Lauren gets herself more and more drunk and Ben tries to contact the dead!

Lauren for me is perhaps the most annoying character, but there is a real pain there. As one of Sam’s oldest friends we discover that she has been in love with him for years, but feels invisible to him. Charlene Boyd is convincing and believable in the role, never over-acting as she becomes inebriated. She displays raw emotion that really hits you.


Ben is the outsider in the group and clashes with Sam throughout the night and even accuses him of hiding the fact that he is scared behind all the science and logic. He is from a different background than the others and even refers to Sam as a “condescending entitled prick”. Ben has ability for mediumship and leads the group in a seance. It would be so easy to make Ben a bit of a joke in this piece but Joe Absolom perfectly portrays the nuances of the character.



What is notable when watching this play is just how silent the audience is. It’s almost as if we were all mutually transfixed as we followed the story. We all reacted together, laughing or gasping in perfect unison, which is a testament to the writing, direction and acting on display.


Obviously I’m not going to spoil the plot twist as this really is a play that is best seen blind, but when the story reaches 2:22 there is a knock at the door and all is revealed. Suddenly everything falls into place and the post-show conversation with fellow patrons is full of excitement and wonder as you all discuss what you have just witnessed and the various clues and things that now make sense after the tense finale.

Even though this has a paranormal theme, it is not a scary play. It’s more of a thriller but is completely engaging, and a little bit spooky! There are jump scares throughout but these are to facilitate scene changes and really keep you on your toes! It’s an interesting choice, but one that I think really works.



2:22 A Ghost Story continues performances at Theatre Royal Plymouth until Saturday and I cannot recommend this play enough. Tickets are selling fast and there is limited availability so head to www.theatreroyal.com now to avoid disappointment.

This is also the final week of performances before a cast change, and the sheer talent of this amazing cast is worth the ticket price alone.

Neill Kovacic-Clarke

All views are my own and I pride myself on being honest, fair and free from influence. Theatre is subjective and it is important to remember that all views expressed are just those of one reviewer.


My ticket for this performance of 2:22 A Ghost Story was gifted by Theatre Royal Plymouth who invited me to watch the show in exchange for my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the content of my review or the star rating given.



CAST LIST:

Nathaniel Curtis as Sam; Louisa Lytton as Jenny; Charlene Boyd as Lauren; Joe Absolom as Ben; Natalie Boakye as Company; Grant Kilburn as Company

RUNNING TIME (approx):

2 hours, including interval

CONTENT WARNINGS:

Occasional bad language; Jump scares; Flashing lights; Slightly prolonged blackouts

AGE GUIDELINE:

12+




The Theatre Royal Plymouth is the principle home of the performing arts in the South West and is the largest and most attended regional producing theatre in the country. Their mission is to develop and deepen people's engagement with pioneering creativity in Plymouth and the South West, delivering experiences that spark delight, expression and fulfilment. The venue offers three performance spaces of various sizes, the largest being The Lyric which accommodates the big touring productions. The Drum and The Lab are smaller, intimate spaces and often offer pioneering productions.

Comentários


bottom of page