Danny Robins’ thriller 2:22 - A Ghost Story has moved house again. It opened in the West End in 2021, and since then moved from the Noël Coward, to The Gielgud, The Criterion, and now to the Lyric Theatre.
Jake Wood has reprised his role as Ben in the fifth cast for the play, which includes popstar Cheryl who makes her solid stage debut as Jenny, and university pals Louise Ford (Lauren) and Scott Karim (Sam).
Jenny is an exasperated mother who fights with her husband Sam over whether or not a ghost haunts their house. Something is happening in her house at precisely 2:22 am. She can hear footsteps in the baby's room, but nobody is there. Husband Sam is sceptical. He's a scientist and dismisses her fears with rational explanations. One evening, Jenny persuades their guests to stay after dinner to see if the ghost appears.
The cast are delightful in this fifth incarnation of the play, each fitting their character well. They are believable and keep the tension high with their interactions and silences. Jake Wood brings good moments of humour, perfectly softening the tension of other elements. The frequently random jumpscares used throughout the piece dissipate the suspense and cheapen the effect of any legitimate scares.
The set, designed by Anna Fleischle, is simple, but beautiful, and very much part of the story.
Let’s be clear: this is NOT a horror story as some people might expect from the title. But it is intriguing enough to keep the audience's attention, flowing between banter and jokes to full-on arguments about science, religion, and society until the (very) unpredictable twist at the end.
More drama than a scary story, after 4 venues and five cast changes, 2:22 is a box office hit and for sure it is here to stay.
It runs until 23 April.
Photo: Helen Murray