Review: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Richmond Theatre

2:22 – A Ghost Story continues to make things go bump in the night on this UK tour, currently playing at Richmond Theatre

“I work in mental health, I think everyone’s crazy”

Over the two years it played in the West End, 2:22 – A Ghost Story gained something of a reputation for its star casting policy. Its UK tour, which started last September, may not have some of the more leftfield choices like Cheryl, Laura Whitmore or Brooklyn 99’s Stephanie Beatriz but in opting for an ostensibly less showy company, there’s a renewed focus on some quality acting in Danny Robins’ tautly plotted play.

In their new home that they’re still renovating, Jenny and Sam are arguing over whether it might be haunted. She’s been hearing noises over the baby monitor every night at 2:22am, he’s certain there’s a far more rational reason. They invite pal Lauren and her new boyfriend Ben over for a dinner and as they decide to stay up late to prove the supernatural one way or the other, much spookiness entails.

It all plays out in the modern domesticity of Anna Fleischle’s set, Lucy Carter’s spectral lighting cleverly playing with shadows whether in the swish kitchen or the garden out back with its screeching foxes. Fiona Wade’s increasingly frazzled Jenny and George Rainsford’s self-satisfied Sam are a picture of middle-class complacency and in their different ways, Vera Chok’s Lauren and Jay McGuiness’ Ben want to disrupt it.

This comes through a good deal of humour – McGuiness surprisingly effective here – and through trying to exorcise the past – Chok the production’s MVP with a superbly controlled release of emotion throughout. As the clock ticks down to the anointed hour, a séance heightens the tension, secrets threaten to tumble out and no-one, not even the teddy bear, is safe.  

Directed by Matthew Dunster and Isabel Marr, the production deploys perhaps one too many shrieking jump scare than is strictly needed as the mix of clues and red herrings provides an intriguing path through the story, allowing for multiple watchings even once you know…well, that would be telling!

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