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2:22 A Ghost Story | The Lowry

Do you believe in ghosts? After five critically acclaimed west end runs in four venues, the intense, gripping supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story by Danny Robins is making believers out of scores of audience members. The story centres around a couple with contrasting ideologies on the existence of ghosts, logical thinking sceptic Sam and staunch believer Jenny, as they host close friends Ben and Lauren. In what goes from friendly drinks, to various stages of debate, and finally a candlelit seance; this all leads up to the big question on everyone’s mind: the relevance of the time 2:22.

It starts as a slow burner, a lot of the first half is focussed on relationship building and contextualisation, however there’s a very discernible build in both the general intensity of the atmosphere, and how the feuding sides of the debate play out, to the point where ultimately the finale feels entirely earned. But supernatural themes aside, this is a very real, human narrative at its core, and we come to feel a connection to the respective individuals and their pre-existing relationships, which are sorely tested throughout the course of the play as the heated argument surrounding the existence of the paranormal builds and intensifies.

This show has had its fair share of casts, with an eclectic mix of screen, stage, and even music performers taking on these roles in the past. The touring production is no different, with Vera Chok, Jay McGuinness, George Rainsford and Fiona Wade all taking to the stage in this intimate, suspenseful piece. And what a terrific job they all do, playing off each other magnificently, as well as being afforded individual moments to shine. With McGuinness, in particular, a highlight for a chilling, atmospheric second act monologue that proves to be a major precursor to the climax of the story.

The entirety of the play takes place in a single, stationary set, comprising the downstairs area of Sam and Jenny’s new fixer upper of a house, including back patio doors and exit towards the upper floor. It’s a simple but highly efficacious set designed by Anna Fleischle, complimented remarkably by Lucy Carter’s impressive, less-is-more style lighting, with the sudden, jarring cuts to black, with nothing but the clock face (an ever present device) visible to us proving particularly effective.

Sound design by Ian Dickinson (of Autograph) lends itself brilliantly to the build of suspense, especially in the second act, as a subtle but grating solitary note accompanied by a low rumble underneath, almost reminiscent of Ari Aster, which proves a beautifully eerie auditory accompaniment. I will say the general reliance on screams and jump scares as linking mechanisms became a touch arduous by the end, and this drew ever so slightly from the atmosphere that had been built. However, this didn’t draw one’s attention from the action, as Robins has us constantly second guessing what the next move will be, making particularly effective use of silences, and there were moments when you could hear a pin drop in the auditorium.

It is no surprise that 2:22 A Ghost Story has had such success in recent years, and though it doesn’t necessarily provide the unabridged fear you would expect from a ghost story (safe for a few jump scares), it certainly has us on the edge of our seats. Subverting our expectations at every turn, and proceeding to knock our socks off with the final, shocking twist that absolutely none of us saw coming. 2:22 A Ghost Story runs at The Lowry until 15th June - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography provided by The Lowry


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