Review Round Up: 2:22 A Ghost Story, Noel Coward Theatre

Discover what critics have had to say about the Matthew Dunster’s production of Danny Robins’ new play at the Noel Coward Theatre.

(c)Helen Murray

The Guardian: **** “Robins’ script is sharp, quick, and cleverly layered with clues. While his handling of horror is nothing new, it’s done smartly, toying with the tropes.”

Time Out: **** “Matthew Dunster directs the whole thing with a macabre playfulness that comes to the fore in Ian Dickinson’s magnificently unsettling sound design.”

Culture Whisper: **** “Jake Wood steals the show with his exuberant performance of Cockney Ben: laugh-out-loud funny and full of heart. Lily Allen as Jenny is surprisingly stilted at the start, but warms into her character as the play develops. 2:22 is actor Julia Chan’s West End debut, who tries her damndest as Lauren, woefully hiding her feelings of love for married Sam. Hadley Fraser as Sam is the perfect vessel for embodying white male privilege, infuriated and devastated when he is finally proven wrong.”

The Times: *** “People like being frightened, as those goose pimplers on Sage have discovered. Ghost stories with ouija boards and creaking floorboards often do well at the box office, theatregoers clutching their necks and screaming when the lights pop. If you’re on a date, it gives you an excuse to clutch your fancy.”

London *** “If 2 22: A Ghost Story is remembered as the play that posited Lily Allen as a viable theatrical presence, its primary debt is owed less to the likes of, say, Andy Nyman’s Ghost Stories than to the eternal challenge, at times truly fearful, that most of us will recognise inherent in simply being alive.”

A Younger Theatre: **** “2:22 A Ghost Story has a divine ability to create suspense and tap into the traditional formula of ghost stories. Candles, Ouija boards and the good old crucifix reference those elements of horror that we are expect from the show. With conviction and an openness to the paranormal, director Matthew Dunster has his actors dance across the stage as the dinner party gets into full swing, the creepy events unfold and the ghost hunt starts.”

The Arts Desk: ** “It’s quite fun stepping outside the world created for us by director Matthew Dunster, and mentally going behind the scenes, imagining one of those time-lapse films in the style of a stadium being constructed, working out how the suspense gets into the play and how it grows in our imaginations. That meta stuff has a somewhat ghostly quality to it, after all.”

iNews: **** “Robins’ is a richly layered play that, as it explores unfulfilled desires and disappearing communities, shows how ghost stories can involve more than strange noises in the night.”

Evening Standard: **** “Robins and Dunster play by the spooky rules, cynically manipulating the buildup of tension then puncturing it with humour: the script is very funny. But Robins also weaves in intriguing themes, imagining ghosts as refugees, homeless people, dementia sufferers or revenants dredged up by gentrification.”

Exeunt Magazine: “Matthew Dunster’s production feeds gleefully on the tropes of both genres. The ‘one room over the course of one night’ element is handled with energetic wit: the actors ping and clatter from sofa to table to sink. Then scene breaks are marked by a sudden bloodcurdling shriek as the stage slams to black and a red neon square of light frames the darkness.”

2: 22 A Ghost Story continues to play at the Noel Coward Theatre until the 16th October.

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