How ‘2:22 - A Ghost Story’ became a record-breaking West End play

With Danny Robins’s spooky play now moving to its fifth London theatre in three years, we take a look back at the history behind 2:22 - A Ghost Story.

Sophie Thomas
Sophie Thomas

Move over, The Woman in Black. 2:22 - A Ghost Story is the spookiest play in town. Since its world premiere in 2021, it’s snowballed into a global phenomenon: Olivier Award nominations, a US premiere, and now a sixth West End engagement at the Apollo Theatre — the show's fifth West End theatre.

Danny Robins — the brains behind BBC podcast The Battersea Poltergeist — makes his playwriting debut with this thriller play. It follows married couple Jenny and Sam renovating their new London house. But, at 2:22am, Jenny hears unexplainable sounds on a baby monitor. Surely, the house is haunted. How do they find out? Easy. Call on two friends to help them locate ghosts. When Lauren and Ben come around, can they put the “natural” explanations into the “supernatural” activities?

With every iteration, 2:22 - A Ghost Story builds a new legion of fans. In a four-star review, our critic said: “it’s fun to see the way in which Robins sets up clues… while finding a psychological basis… in a beautifully achieved balance between bewilderment and rage.”

The play will now attract even more theatregoers, with its summer 2023 season at the Apollo Theatre. Learn more about the play’s worldwide success and get your tickets now.

2:22 - A Ghost Story is at the Lyric Theatre to 23 April. 2:22 - A Ghost Story is then at the Apollo Theatre from 14 May.

Photo credit: Julia Chan, Lily Allen, Hadley Fraser and Jake Wood in 2:22 A Ghost Story (Photo by Helen Murray)

2021: 2:22 - A Ghost Story premieres at the Noel Coward Theatre

Before Dear Evan Hansen reopened, 2:22 - A Ghost Story took up its first West End residence at the Noel Coward Theatre, with performances from 3 August to 16 October.

Lily Allen made her stage debut as Jenny, receiving glowing reviews from The Guardian: “She is strong as the frantic, afraid and exhausted Jen, though the constant paranoia of her part leans towards feeling strained. It’s in her moments of stillness that the fear best finds its way in.” Hadley Fraser played Jen’s husband Sam, alongside Eastenders’ Jake Wood as Ben and Julia Chan as Lauren.

The play impressed audiences, critics, and awarding bodies. 2:22 - A Ghost Story earned three Olivier nominations: Best New Play, Best Actress (for Lily Allen,) and Best Sound Design (for Ian Dickinson).

222 - 750 - LT

2021: The play opens a second season at the Gielgud Theatre

Not long after its final performance, the 2:22 ghosts set up their next haunt — the Gielgud Theatre. Encanto and Brooklyn Nine-Nine actress Stephanie Beatriz made her stage debut as Lauren, alongside Giovanna Fletcher as Jenny, Elliot Cowan as Sam, and James Buckley as Ben. Instead of spooking audiences in the summertime, it was now a Christmas success, with performances from 4 Dec. 2021 to 12 Feb. 2022.

2:22 A Ghost Story - 750 - LT

2022: 2:22 - A Ghost Story moves to the Criterion Theatre

The intimate playhouse proved ideal for Danny Robins’s play, running its most extended engagement of eight months at the Criterion Theatre. The Criterion Theatre era bifurcates: the first cast saw Harry Potter’s Draco Malfoy Tom Felton take on Sam, with Mandip Gill as Jenny, Beatriz Romilly as Lauren, and Sam Swainsbury as Ben. This cast performed from 10 May to 4 September.

Love Island presenter Laura Whitmore led the second Criterion cast as Jenny. She starred alongside Busted’s Matt Willis as Ben, Felix Scott as Sam, and Tamsin Carroll as Lauren. This cast played from 6 Sept. 2022 to 8 Jan. 2023.

2022: 2:22 - A Ghost Story heads to the US

Spooky stories go international too! 2:22 - A Ghost Story opened in America, with performances at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles from 29 October to 4 December. The American debut production relocated the action to Boston, with a cast including Constance Wu as Jenny, Anna Camp as Lauren, Adam Rothenberg as Sam, and Finn Wittrock as Ben.

2:22 A Ghost Story - 1200 - LT

2023: The play runs at the Lyric Theatre

Girls Aloud singer Cheryl made her professional theatre debut as Jenny in the fourth 2:22 - A Ghost Story cast. Louise Ford joined as Lauren, alongside Scott Karim as Sam, and Hugo Chegwin as Ben. However, one week into the run, Jake Wood took over the role of Ben once more — Chegwin pulled out for medical reasons. The three-month season ran at the Lyric Theatre from 21 January to 23 April.

2023: 2:22 - A Ghost Story at the Apollo Theatre

The play shows no signs of slowing down. Weeks after the Lyric Theatre run ends, 2:22 - A Ghost Story will start a new engagement at the Apollo Theatre on 14 May. Following this, the play will embark on a nationwide tour, with performances from September 2023 through May 2024.

Originally published on

Subscribe to our newsletter to unlock exclusive London theatre updates!

Special offers, reviews and release dates for the best shows in town.

You can unsubscribe at any time. Privacy Policy