JOE Absolom is relishing the prospect of making audiences jump out of their skins every night when the hottest show in town comes to The Lowry next week.

2:22 A Ghost Story which fittingly opens in Salford on Halloween, has, in a short space of time, achieved almost cult-like status. Having moved into her new home Jenny believes it is haunted. Her husband Sam is a total sceptic. When old friend Lauren and new partner Ben come round for dinner the talk turns to the supernatural and the evening takes on a sinister turn.

“To be honest the horror genre was not something I knew an awful lot about,” said Joe, who plays Ben in the show. “I think I saw The Fog at a friend’s house when I was about 12 or 13 and it scared the life out of me. I think that’s what put me off.

Lancashire Telegraph: Joe Absolom in 2:22 a Ghost Story (Picture: Johan Persson)

“Even now I don’t think I’d go and watch a horror film but when you bring the genre to the stage, that’s really intriguing. It’s so clever and in the confines of a theatre it works so well.

“You realise that just with sound or lighting you can create an atmosphere. Then you have a live audience all reacting to what’s happening in front of their eyes. I think they come in expecting to be scared but there’s this great feeling of the unknown too; they really don’t know what to expect.”

2:22 A Ghost Story has enjoyed several a sold-out runs in the West End and this is the first time it has toured the UK.

“When I knew I’d got the part I did go and see it in London,” said Joe. “ I really enjoyed it. I’d read the script at that point but it wasn’t until I was in the audience that I realised how funny it is in parts.

“I’ve got to confess, I panicked a little bit because I don’t really do funny - grumpy, sad or angry, that’s more my default position,” he laughed. “But I think every cast has brought their own energy to the play and we’ve got a really good group.”

Lancashire Telegraph: The cast of 2:22 - Nathaniel Curtis, Charlene Boyd, Louisa Lytton and Joe Absolom

For The Lowry the cast will feature Charlene Boyd as Lauren; Nathaniel Curtis, best known for the TV drama It’s a Sin, as Sam and former EastEnders star Louise Lytton as Jenny.

In the past 2:22 has featured a number of well known names including Lily Allen, Jake Wood, Laura Whitmore and Giovanna Fletcher.

“Before I got the part I knew of 2:22 and I sort of had this semi-annoyance with it because non actors were getting opportunities to appear in it when so many people who have trained are looking for work,” he said.

“But then I thought, ‘fair play to them’. You have still got to do eight shows a week. Also by having these different casts it has meant that the show is attracting a diverse and different audience, not just the usual theatre crowd, which is a very good thing.”

Joe primarily made his name as a TV actor. His first big break came playing Matthew Rose on EastEnders for three years and then he played series regular Al Large in the ITV series Doc Martin for 18 years.

Last year he made his stage debut, touring in the Shawshank Redemption, which visited the Lowry, and which confirmed his love for live performance.

“Going to the theatre was not something I ever did as a kid,” he said. “It wasn’t in our environment and I was a bit nervous about taking on the challenge. But I thought that if I really wanted to be considered an actor it was something I had to to - and I loved it.

“I actually enjoy the whole aspect of touring too which I know not everyone does.

Lancashire Telegraph: Joe Absolom and Charlene Boyd in 2:22 A Ghist Story (Picture: Johan Persson)

“When you are touring you become very close very quickly with the rest of the cast and I think you have just got to make the most of it and enjoy it. Just sitting in your room looking at your laptop is boring but I haven’t got a laptop so I have to get out and wander around.”

The Shawshank tour also introduced Joe to a great British institution - Wetherspoons.

“On Shawshank we were a group of middle aged men in denim moaning about the price of life and we always ended up in a Spoons,” he laughed. “But I’m the oldest in this cast, which is something I’ve not experienced before and I keep getting looks of horror when I suggest we go. They’re far too sophisticated. I think all of the week’s money is going on cocktails!”

Having first seen the play and now starring in it, how does Joe sum up 2:22 A Ghost Story for those who remain unsure about a night of suspense and surprises?

“I’d say it’s more jumpy than thinky, if that makes sense,” he said. “I know I came out of the show when I first saw it thinking that I had been entertained. And there’s a great twist which obviously I can’t tell you about.

Lancashire Telegraph: Joe Absolom in 2:22 a Ghost Story (Picture: Johan Persson)

“But I think audiences will come out of the theatre talking about all the things they have seen but above all they will have enjoyed it, at least I hope so.

“It is scary in parts and the staging is great but it’s not so scary that you don’t think can take the bins out the next morning. It is a very contemporary way of doing it - and people seem to be loving it.”

2:22 A Ghost Story, The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, October 31 to Saturday, November 4. Details from