Photo: Helen Murray

2:22 A Ghost Story may only have opened a couple of years ago, yet it’s had so many cast changes and played at so many different theatres it’s difficult to keep up. Already a popular Twitter meme has emerged concerning which god-tier hun will be next to play the role of Jenny in the show, with a recent suggestion of Amanda from The Traitors proving a popular choice, particularly among the queer community. The role was originated in 2021 by Lily Allen, and now fellow pop star Cheryl has stepped into those shoes.

We must say it’s inspired casting – Cheryl is a good fit for the role. She’s particularly strong in the more naturalistic, conversational moments of the show, and on occasion she displays a surprising knack for comic timing. Playing opposite her as partner Sam is Scott Karim, who unfortunately has to wrestle with many of the script’s cheesiest lines; completing the cast are Louise Ford as Sam’s university friend Lauren, and Jake Wood who plays Lauren’s new boyfriend Ben.

The play focuses on Jenny and Sam, young parents who have just bought a new home to raise their family. Jenny is convinced the house is haunted after she hears noises that sound like footsteps and crying; her partner Sam, a scientist, is somewhat sceptical, assuming there must be a logical explanation. This subject is raised over dinner when Lauren and Ben come to see the new house; the quartet conspire to stay up late – until 2:22am, when these sounds have previously been heard – to see if they can figure out what’s going on.

Photo: Helen Murray

To say anything more would be a spoiler; what makes 2:22 so gripping is that it really tells a compelling story. We fully invested in these characters and what they believed in, and really wanted to see how it would all pan out. Over the course of two extremely sweary hours, we watched as our protagonists – over an alarming number of glasses of wine – pieced the puzzle together. The way the story unfurls is more akin to a horror film than a more traditional play: there are shock tactics utilised throughout, and the use of lighting and sound is quite cinematic.

We had a really great evening with 2:22 – while there are plenty of jumpy moments, it’s quite light on actual scares, although it more than makes up for this in entertainment value and the conclusion is extremely satisfying. It’s rare to see such a compelling story told on the stage, and it’s also an impressive debut from our Cheryl – well worth a visit.

GAY TIMES gives 2:22 A Ghost Story – 4/5

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