With the world currently filled with broomsticks and pumpkins, an Americanism that has replaced my particular love of turnip lanterns, and for you southerners, read swede for turnip, what could be better than a good ghost story?

And 2:22 is a very good and very well crafted ghost story. Beautifully presented, designed and delivered it does exactly what one might hope for, it mystifies, surprises and at moments shocks and, as a reviewer, to say more about the play would be doing audiences a disservice. I baulk at reviews that tell the story at the best of times, but with this kind of piece it would be disgraceful.

So all that said, and I really did enjoy this appropriately seasonal work I had one serious misgiving.

Mainly the pitch at which the play is delivered, from the get go three of the characters are shouting, so much so that when the plot starts to develop and the anxiety and anger emerges there is nowhere for them to go. It’s full on from page one!

Joe Absolom Photo: Johan Persson

Against this however is the character of Ben, the working class builder made good, played so well by Joe Absolom. Absolom was recently here in The Shawshank Redemption and more than proved his worth as an actor. This time he doubles that with a measured performance that tips the balance of the story as Ben gradually opens up.

Scarily I was convinced that I had actually made eye contact with him in the foyer before the show, but he was surely in the wings… or it was a ghost… or simply a lookey-likey?

Charlene Boyd is delightfully damaged as American psychiatrist Lauren, lurching into drunkenness through the fateful dinner party. Louisa Lytton’s fragility is tangible too and grows in intensity as events fail to be explained, and Nathaniel Curtis is every inch the arrogant academic Sam trying to debunk everyone’s willingness to believe in life after death yet at the same time protect his wife and infant daughter.

As for that infant, well here I return to my misgivings about the volume. How any child would be able to sleep through that amount of shouting is beyond belief… but then again this is a ghost story and all about belief.

Andrew Kay

Theatre Royal Brighton

24 October


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