These days we are all so used to films and computer games that it’s very hard to scare anyone. Things that go bump in the night have made way for psychological thrillers and dystopian dramas that are believable and therefore more frightening.
2:22 tries to bring back the fear factor. And to some extent it succeeds. The sound effects of foxes mating are so loud that the noise cuts right through you. Is it scary? Not really… Do the audience gasp and shriek? Of course… everyone’s a drama queen in the theatre!
Danny Robins’ script is excellent. It has elements of David Hare’s style with its intimate scenes and moments of one-on-one dialogue between different characters. Well-observed and researched, it’s clever, witty and gripping.
Anna Fleischle’s set is very well designed, showing the different layers of previous home owners and the standard side return extension with its skylights, kitchen island and dark worktops. Combined with the lighting and illusions, it’s very effective.
What lets 2:22 down are its actors. Words do not flow naturally and it feels like people on a stage speaking lines, which is a shame considering the strength of Robins’ story. The actors do warm up and the second act is smoother, but still has over pronunciation and flat delivery.
James Buckley brings a little more energy with his performance, but it is hard to shake off the feeling that he has been typecast. It’s a tough, emotional piece to perform but the standard of acting from cast members fails to do the script justice.
Despite the disappointing acting, the overall result is very good. Although the ending is expected, it’s done very well and still provides that ‘shock’ factor that very few authors achieve.
Reviewed by Michaela Clement-Hayes