Is there room for something spiritual in a logical world?
An invite to see 2:22 A Ghost Story at Mayflower theatre had me in two minds. As a notorious “scaredy-cat” I questioned whether this was the show for me, I don’t watch horror films and shy away from most things spooky or supernatural…and yet, there is something about the synopsis that intrigued me! So in an effort to step out of my comfort zone, and armed with one of my best friends for moral support (who was equally as apprehensive as me), I made my way to see this new stage phenomenon taking the theatre world by storm.
For those who don’t know the premise; Jenny, played by Louisa Lytton, believes her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam played by Nathaniel Curtis, isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben – played by Charlene Boyd and Joe Absolom. Can the dead really walk again? Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is getting closer, so they’re going to stay up… until 2:22… and then they’ll know.
The tone gets set instantly, opening with Jenny decorating her house; no words spoken, no music playing – the silence puts the audience on the edge of their seats, watching the clock as it creeps closer to 2:22, questioning what is to come. And brace yourself, in no time at all the first scare takes place with the audience letting out a collective shriek followed by the sound of nervous laughter as we all realise we had been holding our breath!
As our heart rates slowly return to a normal speed we see the rest of the cast join Jenny on stage and you get drawn into what seems to be a relatively normal evening. This could easily be a night in any of our homes, at what should be a simple dinner party, it immediately makes it a relatable scene. Tensions are high as the conversation navigates awkward relationships, with everyone attempting to be on their best behaviour, but inevitably, masks slip and truths start coming out.
A frazzled Jenny reveals the ghostly presence she has been experiencing whilst in the house on her own, feeling alone and longing for the support of her husband, she sets off a thought-provoking discussion between guests trying to decipher the truth behind what she has seen and heard. You get different perspectives thrown at you; the skeptic, the believer, the open minded, the undecided, it felt like there was an opinion that could represent most of society. You listen as questions are thrown amongst them trying to decide if what she seen is truly paranormal or perhaps can be easily explained away.
The fallout from this watches the relationship between husband and wife slowly deteriorate with Sam so adamant in his beliefs, not willing to even entertain the possibility that what she experienced is real, you start to wonder, who is he trying to convince – the other guests, or himself! Perhaps it is in fact just fear holding him back!
For me there was definitely some jump out your seat moments. You could almost anticipate them approaching, the mood would shift, the suspense would build, the lighting effects would slowly alter to a colder hue, and I swear the air got chillier… or maybe that was just in my mind! Amongst this though there are also some laugh-out-loud comedy thrown in, which certainly helped to break the tension!
I could share so many more thoughts that are buzzing around my mind about what unfolded on stage, but that would involve revealing some spoilers and I have no intention of ruining this show for anyone! If you are anything like me you will leave with your mind in a whirlwind, questioning everything! But unexpectedly I actually want to watch it again, because with everything you learn by the end you almost want to go back and see it with fresh eyes, perhaps you may even find yourself agreeing with a different character’s perspective!
The conversation was electric leaving the theatre, I was listening to everyone sharing their own thoughts on what they had just witnessed. Trying to decipher the meaning, analyse how it played out and most importantly figuring out their own feelings about the subject matter. It was truly fascinating to listen to.
2:22 is not just for people who love a little scare; maybe you enjoy a debate with provoking questions or simply want to believe yourself – it has something for everyone! Even if you are like me and tend to avoid anything scary, don’t discount this show. It is well-worth watching, to have your mind opened, and perhaps even your beliefs challenged. And if you still need a little reassurance, I actually found comfort in the ending, which may seem like an odd thing to say to anyone who knows how it plays out. But understanding is truly a powerful thing!
For a funny and adrenaline-filled night to truly get you in the spirit ready for Halloween book yourself a ticket, 2:22 A Ghost story will be playing at Mayflower Theatre until Saturday 21st October. The concept is genius, the more you think about what you have seen the more questions you have, it is a real talking point – perfect for your next dinner party…!
Words by Vicky Anscombe