REVIEW: 2:22 A Ghost Story at the Criterion Theatre

Danny Robins’ play returns for it’s third run this summer with a brand new cast. Jenny (Mandip Gill) believes her new house, specifically her baby daughter’s bedroom, is being haunted. She persuades her very sceptical husband (Tom Felton) and more open-minded dinner guests Lauren (Beatriz Romilly) and Ben (Sam Swainsbury) to hold a vigil to find out what really happens at 2:22 every morning. What follows is a darkly comic, tense wait as husband Sam tries to disprove the existence of ghosts scientifically while dinner guest Ben offers to hold a séance to make contact with the ghost. The overriding question of the play is do ghosts really exist and if so can they make contact with the living, and to what end?

The cast are all strong here however at times the acting can become a little over-egged. For example Gill’s Jenny starts the play at almost level 10 hysteria, meaning there is nowhere to go later when things become more serious and almost makes her difficult to watch. There is no trace of Draco Malfoy in Felton’s cynical, condescending, yet charming Sam who infuriatingly tries to explain away Jenny’s fears. Romilly and Swainsbury’s characters highlight the antagonism between Jenny and Sam and there are some genuinely funny moments of conflict between Ben and Sam too.

The set, designed by Anna Fleischle, depicts a family home in the midst of renovation, showing the layers of history and the people who lived there before. It also manages to make the act of renovation seem almost poignant, as if destroying the home that someone once loved. There are also frequent ‘jump scares’  in the form of screams from foxes on the balcony, and a blood curdling scream to denote scene changes. These have the desired effect of making the audience jump however they don’t actually add anything to the plot.

Overall, the play works. The final reveal of what really happens at 2:22 is unpredictable, and it would be interesting to go again and look for clues to the ending throughout the play.

Hannah Gladstone
Hannah Gladstone

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