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Review - 2:22 A Ghost Story - Spooky enough but I can't stop scratching my head

Updated: Jul 19, 2022

Rated 🍯🍯🍯

The bee went to 2:22 A Ghost Story with its lovely human friend who noticed we were sitting in the same row as the lovely Neil Patrick Harris...

...who was kind enough to let the bee take a nice picture of him with its human friend after the show. He also gave the bee a detailed interview about his childhood, his supernatural experiences and of course his thoughts about the play.

Actor Neil Patrick Harris poses for a picture with a fan
The bee's human friend gets a picture with Neil Patrick Harris who was a fellow audience member at 2:22 A Ghost Story

Okay, the bee made that up. He may have wanted to speak to the bee but bee language is a little too sophisticated and complex for humans, unfortunately.

As for the play, the bee was thoroughly spooked and duly jumped out of its skin at each jump-scare. The scary bits aside, the bee is baffled by a few things. Spoilers ahead. Please stop reading if you haven't watched the play yet.

Eight baffling questions about 2:22 A Ghost Story

As one of the bee's human companions wisely noted, Alexa probably does not respond to Sammy (Tom Felton) because he is the ghost. The bee for its part wisely noted that the theory made perfect sense. Humans are so clever. But the bee still cannot wrap its tiny head around these perplexing open questions:

1. If Sammy can come back home to bathe his baby, entertain dinner guests and convince his wife to have another baby as though nothing happened, why can't he keep doing that for the rest of his life as though he never died? Is death even a problem?

2. Further to point #1, why does Sam need to go to his baby and sob around it at 2:22 when he can just be with the baby in the flesh - hold the baby and his wife - as he does throughout the play?

3. Maybe Sam did not know he had died and moved on. Maybe he needed to be ignorant for his form to be able to stick around and go about the day thinking he / it still lived there (like the old lady ghost in Ben's childhood house). But if he did not know he had died, then why would he sob around his baby? And if he did know he had died, then it's ridiculous that he should be able to just return from the afterlife and spend the evening living like a normal human.

4. The ghost Sam that knows it is dead and goes to the baby at 2:22 every night = the ghost Sam that entertained dinner guests that evening at a dinner party. Why is it that the former never made its presence visible to its wife but the latter did?

5. If Sam knows he is dead, then why on earth is he pleasantly minding his, no - its business about the house as though it still lives there, telling Jen it loves her, asking her to have another baby with it and whatnot? And if it does not yet know it is dead, then why is it spooking its wife like that at 2:22? What is it even trying to achieve here? The bee is so confused. Why wouldn't it just tell its wife what had happened so she can stop freaking out? Isn't it a 'good ghost'?

6. Conversely, if Sam does not know he is dead, then why - WHY - does he disappear at 2:22 the night of the play when the cops arrive?

7. Why does Sam not drink any alcohol that night? Is it because he is a ghost and ghosts cannot drink? If that is true then it is probably also true that ghosts cannot eat. But then Sam does end up downing his dinner, does he not? If ghosts can eat why can't they drink? Maybe he does not drink because he does not want to get drunk. But, wait, does that mean ghosts can get drunk?

8. Why is it that humans can sense Sam's presence in the room but Alexa cannot? If you tell me that technology cannot pick up ghost voices, then how come the baby monitor picks up Sam's voice from the bathroom when he bathes his baby? And his footsteps when he visits at 2:22 every night?

The bee is so confused. Sorry if this 2:22 review confused you too.

Curtain call of the cast of 2:22 A Ghost Story, including Tom Felton and Mandip Gill, on stage at the Criterion Theatre in London
Cast of 2:22 A Ghost Story - Tom Felton, Mandip Gill and others - bow to the audience after their performance at the Criterion Theatre, London, on 31 May 2022

One can't talk about horror genre in theatre without thinking about The Woman in Black, which is a natural benchmark for any show that aims to spook an audience with a live performance. The bee thought that 2:22 A Ghost Story is no competition for The Woman in Black. The latter is spine-chilling in a way that the former can never be, or at least not when the former relies on the screeching noises of mating foxes - noises that start to appear rather crude and bilious after the first couple of times - to achieve its jump-scares. The play lacked the element of anticipation - those seconds that feel like they last minutes, as you look about a spooky room waiting for a hidden monster to come out from hiding and scare the living daylights out of you - the kind that one constantly anticipated when one watched Arthur Kipps look about the nursery room in The Woman in Black. Instead, the bee found itself waiting rather impatiently and vexatiously for the clock to strike 2:22 so that it could get its final scare, Jenny could get her vindication, Lauren could get her moment of triumph, and everyone - both fictional and real - could go home.

But the bee does admit to jumping a fair few times, and the bee commends all four actors for their spectacular delivery. The bee only wishes that the script's scary elements were less crude and more refined, less predictable and more sinister. The bee liked Lily Allen's performance and thought this was a great West End debut for her. What better way than to electrify the audience with a chilling ghost story.

Three stars.

Watched 31 May 2022 at the Criterion Theatre, London.


P.S. Criterion theatre has the worst rake - the slope is so tiny that you will undoubtedly encounter a hundred heads in front of you no matter where you sit. It might be worth investing on a decent seat so that it's at least only heads and not also railings, pillars and other obstructions. Gah.


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