Culture Editor Ash Sutton reviews 2:22 A Ghost Story, finding it to be worth the social media buzz and a hauntingly enjoyable night out

first year Digital Media and Communications student, culture editor and general geek

I will be honest I was apprehensive going into this. As someone who really doesn’t like getting scared, seeing a show based on that prospect was unnerving for me. However, 2:22 A Ghost Story was one of those things so many famous people had been in, and I had seen so often on social media, the first chance I got I had to snatch it up.

2:22 A Ghost Story centres around relatively new mother Jenny (Fiona Wade) and her husband Sam (George Rainsfield) who has just returned home from a trip and are throwing a dinner party for Sam’s oldest university friend and her new boyfriend. The catch is while Sam was away Jenny has been hearing a man in her daughter’s room at exactly 2:22 every night. Thus, she assumes the house must be haunted. The cast spend two hours debating the existence of the paranormal, trying to will the spirit into being and waiting for the clock to strike 2:22 just to prove Jenny isn’t insane.

Every part was used to its advantage, and every movement added to the story

The first thing of note was the impressive set. The stage was set up to look like an old house in the middle of renovations, with aspects hinting to the past tenants before our lead couple moved in. The house was beautiful really, there were a lot of moving components and there were a lot of potential for things to fall, move and smash. Every part was used to its advantage, and every movement added to the story.

I think it’s hard to enjoy something when you are so on edge. With me constantly being terrified of being terrified, I had a hard time in places engaging with the story. It started slow, I was too aware of anything moving or jumping out at me, and sometimes the acting was slightly too inauthentic, especially with a lot of the dialogue being based on traditional British profanities. As it hit act two, though I wasn’t yet used to the jump scares, leading to me accidentally managing to tip my drink over the woman next to me, I had started to relax and enjoy the show as it was.

The storyline was great. The twist was better, although I think they could have gone bigger with it. But overall, the dynamics that developed between all four leads were ultimately what made the show. Ben (Jay McGuinness, best known from The Wanted if you weren’t sure how you knew the name) carried the comedy as well as a lot of the most unnerving scenes. Granted, Lauren (Vera Chok) grew tiresome, and Sam was downright annoying at times, the cast was still mostly likeable. I enjoyed the profoundness of Jenny’s comparison of the paranormal to the likes of Facebook almost as much as I enjoyed Sam trying to scientifically argue his way out of believing in ghosts. I think in a show with such a small cast, this success with characters is vital.

I think in a show with such a small cast, this success with the characters is vital

It is clear the creatives put an incredible amount of thought into the outcome of the show. There are hints upon hints to the twist that you won’t get until you’re in the car home. The use of lighting was impeccable. Not only were the neon lights that accompanied each scene change very cool, but every time also our characters grew uncomfortable, or a scare was hinted at the lighting would turn subtly cool from the homely warm white that lit the room.

I wouldn’t say coming out of 2:22 A Ghost Story has converted me into loving the paranormal genre, but I would say that this show as far as theatre shows go is definitely one worth checking out. Whether you are going for the plot, just because Jay McGuinness is in it, or because you didn’t have anything better to do, I can guarantee you will have a good time. Just don’t take a drink in if you are prone to flinging things around when you’re scared.

2:22 A Ghost Story is running at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre 20th to 24th February 2024

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