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2:22 A Ghost Story - Gielgud Theatre REVIEW

2:22 A Ghost Story is already well known within the theatre industry for its unconventional casting. Opening with Lily Allen’s stage debut, other names which have graced the cast have included Cheryl Cole, Tom Felton, Giovanna Fletcher and Jake Wood. As of June 2024, we are presented with the cast of James Buckley (The Inbetweeners), Joe McFadden (Holby City), Donna Air (The Split) and the much-talked-about Stacey Dooley. 

The evening begins with two couples coming together for a dinner party, all the elements of a horror movie are present, creepy baby monitor crackling noise, thunderstorms, horrendous sounds of foxes screeching in the garden. 

The script is well crafted but at times there are no moments to digest it as the conversation flits back and forth so fast you can barely take in what the cast is saying, let alone what they’re meaning by it. 

In her acting debut, Stacey Dooley stood her ground amongst the more experienced cast, however, it did feel like it she was reacting very similar to how she would naturally in this situation. As the demands of the play’s story grew, with drunken arguments and emotionally driven decisions moving the plot forward, the cracks in the acting across all cast members began to show. 

James Buckley steals scenes with his comedic timing and witty quips into the conversation. His relationship with Joe Fadden’s character brings friction from the off and entertaining twist to the nicety small talk which fills the first half of Act 1. 

One of my main issues with this piece is that tension created during a scene is immediately lost and the atmosphere reset due to a blood-curdling scream which causes many an audience member to shriek in return, and then giggle in relief, turning to the person next to them to discuss whether they had shrieked as well. This led to a good 10-20 seconds while the scene changed for the audience to chat, tension to be relieved and then ready to go again. 

The comedy within the piece is strong, and enough to balance the horror and chills, which made the scream scene changes feel abrasive and unnecessary. 

There is no denying the twist at the end is an unexpected one, leaving audiences gasping as the cast takes their final bows. I feel it leaves a fair few plot holes behind and questions unanswered but does make for an interesting conversation on the train ride home.

An entertaining evening with a few chills, twists and turns but with many a question left unanswered upon departure.

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