By: James Banyard, TRP Reviewer
“Something happened to me that I couldn’t make sense of,” says one of the characters in 2:22 – A Ghost Story. Except, sceptic and astronomer Sam (Nathaniel Curtis), thinks he can understand it, only too well. He has all the counter-arguments and scientific evidence, (‘Why are ghosts always clothed? Clothes don’t die.’) and can he explain all things – until of course, he can’t.
This new play, written by hit paranormal podcaster Danny Robins, promises an adrenaline fuelled night set in a comfortable middle-class household where things are going bump in the night. Two sets of bickering couples face down their differences among the possibly spooky goings on of a house mid-gentrification.
It’s a play of ideas and emotions which constantly hunts around the theme: do you believe in ghosts? Of course not, thinks Sam and Lauren (Charlene Boyd). On the other hand, Ben (Joe Absolom) and Jenny (Louisa Lytton) have unexplained experiences they are only too ready to attribute to ghosts. For the last few nights, at precisely 2:22am, something weird has happened in the baby’s room. Footsteps. A strange chill. Jenny insists they stay up late so they can all experience it – a digital clock above the door becomes a ticking time bomb.
The action rolls along fairly comfortably – barring the odd unnecessary jump scare – as both sides lay out their cards, cook risotto, play drinking games, get scared by foxes in the back yard – until, as you would hope with a good ghost story, rationality begins to fail, and emotions take hold. Psychologist Lauren explains, in the battle between our monkey brain and our lizard brain, ‘lizard always wins.’
The feisty couples bicker in uncomfortably realistic ways. If you were eating the risotto with them, which Sam doesn’t seem to touch, you might slip out the front door for a breath of fresh air – and, possibly, not want to go back in. But as audience, we are pinned to our seats. Something strange seems to be going on in the house – or is it?
And that’s where this review should end.
If you have a friend who has seen this play recently, you may notice they are a little reticent to tell you much more than I have explained here – especially if you are booked to see it this week at TRP.
They are right to keep their mouth shut.
All I have set out here is all you need to know to decide if you want to see it – and see it you must – so that you can see the secrets of this fun, scary, and thoughtful play for yourself. Take a good friend with you, and be prepared to spend the journey home discussing every spooky detail you can remember.