No preamble here - it's straight into the story and the nervous laughter and gasps from the audience highlighting the heavy and dark atmosphere, pervading the very air of the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. Matthew Dunster is back directing at his finest, with the cast assembled as Sophia Bush as Lauren, Ricky Champ as Ben, Clifford Samuel as Sam and Jaime Winstone as Jenny. However, at tonight's performance, we had Gemma Yates-Round in the role of Lauren and Luis Donegan-Brown as Sam.
Sam and Jenny, a middle-class couple complete with their new baby daughter, invite their friends Lauren and her latest, in a long line of disastrous dates, Ben, who has an interest in all things spooky, to dinner in the old Victorian house they are renovating. Talk turns to, perhaps, the real reason why they are invited over. At 2.22 every morning noises and sounds, footsteps and flashes of light are seen and heard coming from the baby monitor. Why then? Why that time? Jenny persuades the group to stay awake to see if it's just a figment of her imagination or if there is more to this than meets the eye - the ghostly activities that surround that particular time. And so it begins.
There is plenty of jump scares in this piece. The screams from the garden from the mating foxes from the talented Ian Dickinson (sound director) and the glare from the automated exterior lights (Lucy Carter) punctuated the tense atmosphere in the quietness of the night. You won't be able to guess the ending (and there are no spoilers here) as the final twists and turns of the plot swirl around you, leaving you with genuine shock and fear.
The cast are delightful, each fitting their character well. They are believable and keep the tension high with their interactions and silences.
Luis Donegan-Brown, playing Sam, has comedic timing down to a tee. Slightly nervous in the first half he came into his own in the second - gone were the nerves, he relaxed into the role and the action was flowing and still on point with the comedy. His delivery of lines somewhat scathing in sarcasm was tight and crisp. Definitely, one to watch. Alongside him, Gemma as Lauren, with the same attention to detail and the same crisp delivery and the theme of her character's open-mindedness ran throughout the show.
Winstone's character is one that is at first glance considered to be delusional and Jamie shows her skillset - turning from hysterical mother at the slightest sound, to almost pathological in her belief that there is something awry in her new home. In equal turn, Ricky Champ as Ben indulges Jenny's story - he has attended haunted locations and has an interest in the afterlife.
The climax of 2.22 - there are no spoilers here folks but believe me when I say, without any degree of hyperbole, that this is one you do not want to miss - you will be in for a treat and most certainly, a trick.
It runs until 17 September. Tickets from £24: here.