Sunday, July 14

2:22 A Ghost Story – The Lowry

Written by Danny Robins and directed by Matthew Dunster and Isabel Marr, ‘2:22 A Ghost Story’ is an Olivier Award nominated thriller that first premiered in the West End in 2021. Having already captivated the West End, this gripping story is now on the move to impress more audiences across the country. Appropriately opening at the Lowry on the evening of Halloween only added to the audience’s anticipation.

The story is essentially about the potential haunting of a new home. New mum ‘Jenny’ (Louisa Lytton) argues that the house is haunted and her husband, science obsessed ‘Sam’ (Nathaniel Curtis), vehemently disagrees. Over the night Jenny becomes more and more desperate to quash all of Sams ‘scientific theories’ as she is convinced there are strange ‘ghostly’ occurrences in the house.  Jenny’s only concern is the safety of Phoebe her 11-month-old baby. The entire story takes place overnight following a dinner party with friends and stops at the hours of 2:22…

Louisa Lytton portrays a frantic, frenzied new mum ‘Jenny’. Earnest and consistently ‘on the go’ she questions the move to the house that she and Sam have made. Lytton performs this role so well and her complete disbelief that the occurrences are anything other than a ghost are well executed. Lytton is believable in this role and her constant moving on stage highlighted her heightened anxiety as ‘Jenny,’ which she executes to perfection.

Nathaniel Curtis who plays ‘Sam’, the irritating, scientific fact obsessed, husband to Jenny. He is excellent in this portrayal and complements Lytton wonderfully- there have never been a couple more opposed in their views. Curtis is a natural in this role- it’s hard to take your eyes off him on stage- his consistent ‘put downs’ of anyone questioning his ‘facts’ and the way he tries to dominate the evening is uncomfortable to watch at times.

Charlene Boyd performs the role of ‘Lauren’. Boyd’s ability to change in character over the evening is interesting to watch as she changes from a woman ‘on top of her game’ as a Doctor in the NHS to a desperate figure falling over drunk towards the end. Her dependence on alcohol causes her to share some frank talking with Sam that seems to be the only thing that renders him speechless. Boyd is captivating as Lauren.

Joe Absolom who plays ‘Ben’ seems to add the most comedy to this play which he executes to perfection. His ‘quieter’ condescending comments to Sam over his obsession with science are amusing. His ‘put downs’ in response to Sam’s dominant disagreement in anything he says, have the audience warming to this character. Absolom has an outstanding quality of stage presence without the need to say much.

The story is also wonderfully cringeworthy in the dinner party aspect- with middle class values, differing opinions and the guest who tends to overshare following alcohol. It’s a story that audiences can align to- we all know a Ben, Jenny, Lauren or Sam and this makes the play so tangible to audiences. Conversations they have related to life and death (and all in between) add a layer of richness to the supernatural aspect of the play.

It would be incredibly remiss in a production like this to omit reference to the sound design team. All aspects of sound, music, screams, (even mating foxes!) was executed to perfection- the sound almost framed the entire play as it kept the audience on the edge of their seat, anticipating the next scream. Ian Dickinson, sound designer, with many accolades to his name, should be applauded for this masterpiece.

2:22 A Ghost story is undoubtedly a success. It is a success as the story Danny Robins created is so relatable in many ways. All four characters can be identified with, and the story flows effortlessly on stage. The ending to the story and the reason for all the strange occurrences in the house is realised at the end of the play. At 2.22 in fact. Let’s just say is an ending that not many in the audience would have expected. This intense, ‘edge of the seat’ play deserves to continue for many years in theatres.

Reviewer: Angela Kelly

Reviewed: 31st October 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.