2:22 A Ghost Story Review at Newcastle Theatre Royal

2:22 A Ghost Story Review at Newcastle Theatre Royal

Tonight we attended the opening night of 2:22 A Ghost Story as this west end phenomenon of a play came to the Newcastle Theatre Royal. Previously starring our hometown lass Cheryl Cole in the west end this show earned rave reviews across audiences that saw it as well as the critics. I was made up that it came on tour and able to see it tonight.

Jenny believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests for various reasons, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben. Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and something is getting closer, so they’re going to stay up… until 2:22… and then they’ll know.

We’ve specifically been told not to give anything away so we don’t want to ruin it for you and won’t go into the synopsis of the show, however to say this stage play builds suspense and tension is an understatement. Plunging the audience into darkness puts you in a state of anticipation. The flashing of a large red light that frames the stage disorientates. Screams cry out but are they just the foxes or possibly an unknown presence.

Throughout the play we see discussion and debate between the four characters in this story. Mixing well, all four interact and have great chemistry together. But do ghosts really exist? Is our central character just tired and imagining things? The room filled with believers, non believers and opinion. What constitutes a ghost? Do they really exist? Is it wrong to believe in something? If ghosts do exist, just who is the invader, the current occupants or the ghost? Some believe in reincarnation and some believe there is a perfectly logical reason to explain all the goings on. We see underlying tensions boil and rise to the top, an exploration of relationships and missed opportunities. Alpha males going at each other to be the bigger man. A longing love untold and the tale of a previous owner of whom they have washed away every trace of.

Joe Absolom is perfectly cast and an enjoyable watch as Ben, the builder. He grew up not to far from this supposedly haunted house and has seen this before. Others coming in and ripping out the soul of what was. His switching from observant visitor to alpha male battling to be number one to a true believer with a good amount of humour to add made for great characterisation. Battling against Nathanial Curtis as Sam, the constant jousting and friction builds throughout to open disdain. Sam is always right, so of course there’s always an explanation for everything and Curtis comes off well as our sceptic and seemingly innocent husband, on a mission to prove everyone they are wrong, but is he as innocent as he seems?

Charlene Boyd is Lauren, the university friend of Sam’s, growing up and going their own ways but always keeping in touch. A underlying flirtation is clearly visible with Sam, with more to be revealed later on. She starts off a well rounded composed character spiralling as she gets drunker through the night revealing some thoughts of her own, but for whose benefit?

Louisa Lytton is brilliant as our paranoid mother Jenny. After experiencing the same scary moments each night at the same time she has reason to be emotional, paranoid and fearful but she needs to prove it. Lytton is wholly believable and the emotion is evident. Fighting to be believed she does all she can to prove it will all reveal itself at 2:22.

2:22 – A Ghost Story builds the tension and suspense brilliantly and is a great watch. The clock on the wall constantly catches your eye and focus as you know you’re nearing something but you just don’t know what will happen. If you are jumpy and anxious then prepare yourself and hold on tight to the person next to you.

2:22 – A Ghost Story plays at Newcastle Theatre Royal from Tue 19 – Sat 23 Sep 2023. Tickets can be purchased at www.theatreroyal.co.uk or from the Theatre Royal Box Office on 0191 232 7010.

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