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REVIEW: Ghost Story packed with laughs and ‘blood curdling screams’

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9

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Why does Jenny hear footsteps round her baby’s cot at precisely 22 minutes past two in the morning? Why does she feel another adult presence when she and the baby are the only ones in the house? Danny Robins’ play 2.22 A Ghost Story is like a roller coaster. It goes along smoothly then every so often there are blood curdling screams.

The audience gasps then it laughs. It laughs at itself for having been taken by surprise. We also laughed because there is a lot of humour in this play.

The audience loved it.

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

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The play has four main characters, two couples in a discussion about whether ghosts exist. They are going to wait up until 2.22 to find out.

Jenny, played by Fiona Wade, is convinced they do. Her scientist husband, Sam (played authoritatively by George Rainsford) is sceptical. There is a logical explanation for every aspect of the phenomenon he says.

Cold spots in a haunted houses feel cold because when someone is frightened their blood rushes to their internal organs. The hairs stand up on their skin because the body is trying to trap air to warm them again.

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

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It’s a useful dramatic formula: two couples meet for dinner and get drunker as the night wears on. The quarrelling Jenny and Sam, a middle-class pair who are renovating an old house bought from an elderly lady after her Frank husband died, are the hosts.

They disagree on the building work, which room the baby sleeps in and about the existence of ghosts.

Their guests, Laura, and her new boyfriend Ben, played by Vera Chok and Jay McGuiness (who has great comic timing) are their audience as are the young couple in Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? But they have their own experiences of ghosts too.

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2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

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Woven into the debate about whether ghosts are real is the class dynamic. Ben is a builder, scathing about what the middle classes like Jenny and Sam do to old houses – tearing them apart, knocking down walls, removing all the character from them, turning them into mini airport lounges.

If I were Frank, he says, I would haunt this place.

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9. Credit: Johan Persson

There is a twist at the end which I didn’t see coming, which kind of settles the argument.

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“Shush, don’t tell” flashes up on the stage.

So, I won’t.

2.22 A Ghost Story is at Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday, March 9.

 

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