REVIEW: 2:22 A Ghost Story – Lyceum Theatre – Sheffield


“2:22 A Ghost Story” at Sheffield Lyceum is a mesmerizing theatrical experience that plunges audiences into a world of supernatural intrigue and psychological suspense. Written by Danny Robins, the play weaves together elements of horror, mystery, and family drama to create a gripping narrative that keeps viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

The story centres around Jenny and Sam, a young couple who have recently moved into a new home in the heart of the city. From the moment they set foot in their new abode, strange and inexplicable events begin to unfold. Jenny becomes convinced that their house is haunted, citing eerie noises and unexplained phenomena as evidence. However, Sam, a rational scientist, remains sceptical, attributing the occurrences to mere coincidence or figments of imagination.

This fundamental conflict between belief and scepticism forms the core of the play, driving much of the tension and suspense throughout. As Jenny’s conviction grows stronger and Sam’s scepticism is tested, their relationship is put to the ultimate test. Their differing perspectives on the supernatural force them to confront not only the mysteries lurking within their home but also the deeper truths about themselves and their relationship.

At the heart of the production is Jay McGuiness’s stellar performance as Ben. McGuiness brings a compelling blend of charisma, vulnerability, and wit to the role, captivating the audience with his nuanced portrayal of a man torn between reason and fear. Fiona Wade, who portrays Jenny with equal parts strength and vulnerability, is palpable, anchoring the emotional core of the story.

Supporting performances from George Rainsford as Sam, Jenny’s husband, and Vera Chok as Lauren, Sam’s old friend, further enrich the ensemble cast. While their characters serve primarily as catalysts for the central conflict between Jenny and Sam, Rainsford and Chok imbue their roles with depth and authenticity, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.

What sets “2:22 A Ghost Story” apart from other supernatural thrillers is its deft handling of themes such as belief, scepticism, and the nature of reality. Whilst the play does rely mostly on cheap scares or jump scares to unsettle audiences, it also delves into the psychological and emotional repercussions of confronting the unknown. It invites viewers to question their own beliefs and assumptions about the supernatural, blurring the lines between reality and imagination.

The production makes ingenious use of its stage design (Anna Fleischle) and technical elements (Chris Fisher) to enhance the sense of atmosphere and tension. The set, consisting of the couple’s home, is meticulously detailed, creating a claustrophobic and ominous ambiance that permeates every scene. The ominous presence of a digital clock counting down to 2:22 AM adds an extra layer of suspense, heightening the anticipation as the play hurtles towards its climactic conclusion.

However, “2:22 A Ghost Story” is not without its flaws. While the play succeeds admirably in building tension and suspense, there are moments where the pacing falters, resulting in lulls that detract from the overall momentum of the narrative. Similarly, some of the comedic elements, while effective in providing moments of levity, occasionally feel forced or out of place, disrupting the otherwise immersive atmosphere. The narrative often sows seeds that do not grow and leave a series of elements undeveloped, for example, domestic abuse.

In conclusion, “2:22 A Ghost Story” is a haunting and thought-provoking theatrical experience that lingers in the mind long after the final curtain falls. With its compelling performances, gripping narrative, and atmospheric staging, the play offers a captivating exploration of the supernatural that is sure to leave audiences spellbound. Despite its minor flaws, it remains a must-see for anyone seeking an exhilarating and immersive theatrical experience.

“2:22 A Ghost Story” plays at Sheffield’s Lyceum Theatre until 17th February 2024 where it will continue its UK Tour. Tickets available here.

Photos throughout from Johan Perrson






One response to “REVIEW: 2:22 A Ghost Story – Lyceum Theatre – Sheffield”

  1. Kate Ketteringham avatar
    Kate Ketteringham

    Saw this play tonight , and to be honest, it was like watching a comedy !! The audience were in stitches every few minutes, which was confusing and detracted from the drama.
    The good bits were great, set and acting, but to be honest I didn’t reckon much to it, and left feeling disappointed.Whether it was meant to be like that I’m not sure, but a lot of the time the actors talked over each other and so we missed a lot of dialogue.
    The most irritating thing about the whole thing though, was the deafening music and screams at the beginning.My ears are still ringing now !.

    However the twist at the end was clever.

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