The stage show that really will make you leap out of your seat!

At one of the first previews, the director took Nathaniel Curtis aside and told him that “there is just something so amazing and gratifying about hearing the audience scream.”
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“I just thought ‘Oh, that’s a bit scary and sadistic,” Nathaniel admits. “But then when the audience did scream I was immediately like ‘Oh that’s a fun sensation!” The play is 2:22 A Ghost Story and it’s at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton from October 17-21; at the Theatre Royal Brighton from October 24-28; and at Chichester Festival Theatre from February 6-10. And Nathaniel is delighted to say that we are all going to scream a lot.

“The great thing is that it is so fast-paced and exciting. It has got a bit of everything. It has got a lot of laughs but it has also got a lot of jump-scares. Everything is happening so quickly but you just don't know what is happening and we just have to stay a step ahead of the audience so that we really are setting up the scares and the laughs. The play is about a dinner party, about four people that get together and it's about the revelation that Jenny has heard a ghost in the middle of the night.”

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Jenny is convinced her new home is haunted, but her husband Sam (played by Nathaniel) isn’t having any of it. Their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben, arrive and they argue. Can the dead really walk again? Something feels frightening, and that something is getting closer…

Nathaniel Curtis as Sam. Photo Johan PerssonNathaniel Curtis as Sam. Photo Johan Persson
Nathaniel Curtis as Sam. Photo Johan Persson

“My character Sam is a real sceptic. He is a professor and he has a scientific answer for everything, but the power of belief is really strong. But what is really amazing are the audiences that come to see the show. They are small C conservative but they are so engaged in the play right from the very first moment. We have a really scary moment very early on and once you get that scream you know that you've got them on side and that they are with you. From that moment they have permission to scream and gasp. The characters are really dreadful to each other at times but the audience are just really, really invested and we're letting them into our world.”

Personally Nathaniel doesn't have any beliefs: “But I'm very happy to be proved wrong. I am not as steadfast in my own disbelief as Sam, the character that I play, is but really what he's trying to do is to protect his wife by arguing reason to her.” But who knows, Nathaniel 's own scepticism could well be punctured by some of the theatres that the tour is taking them. After all, as he says, theatres are notoriously haunted… “But I just don't like horror myself. I do not like being scared but I'm certainly happy to scare other people! But I do think the show is so successful because it is such fun. It's a fun night and like I say it has got a bit of everything and the people that I'm working with are truly spectacular. It's so easy to get lost in their performances because they are such experts. And the audience seem to love being scared. I'm not. I am massive wimp and I'm very happy to admit that. We did a question and answer and the question why do people like horror so much came up, and I just don't have an answer but maybe it's that thing of enjoying the elevated heart rate, that increased sense of being made to feel something… Who knows!”​