Vera Chok and Jay McGuiness are touring the country terrifying audiences as they go - and they are loving every minute of it.

In a couple of weeks they will be bringing the award-winning 2:22 - A Ghost Story to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre and in June the production will be at The Lowry, Salford Quays.

Written by Danny Robins, 2:22 sees what’s starts off as a friendly dinner party become something altogether different as beliefs are challenged and friends endure a frightening ordeal.

The show, which premiered in 2021, immediately became one of the most talked-about new works. One reason has been the casting of the four central characters. In previous iterations, stars have included Cheryl Cole, Joe Absolom, Jaime Winstone, Lily Allen and Louisa Lytton.

Bury Times: Vera Chock and Jay McGuinness in 2:22 (Picture: Johan Persson)

For this tour, Vera and Jay will be joined by former Casualty star George Rainsford and Fiona Wade, best known for playing Priya Sharma in the TV soap Emmerdale.

“I think for all four of us the show represents something of a new beginning,” said Jay. “Vera had been on Hollyoaks for a long period of time and is now back in theatre; Fiona is doing her first theatre in 10 years after being in Emmerdale and it’s a very similar story with George.

“Apart from a bit of a spooky lullaby at one point I don’t sing at all, I just have to go on there and act.”

Jay shot to fame as a member of the band The Wanted and then won Strictly Come Dancing in 2015 alongside professional partner Aliona Vilani. He has subsequently starred in the musicals Big, White Christmas and Rip it Up.

Vera said: “I was leaving Hollyoaks but didn’t really know what was happening next but I knew really missed the theatre. I was so lucky to get an audition for this.

“I’d not seen the play but when I read it I could tell it was brilliant writing. When I got offered the role I knew I had to go and see it.

“I had heard all the buzz about it and I wanted to experience the show as an audience member and it really lived up to the hype. It was so fun and took you on a roller coaster ride. It was great.”

Jay was a fan of the production before he ever got involved in the show.

Bury Times: Jau McGiuinness in 2:22 (Picture: Johan Persson)

“I went to go and watch it when Cheryl Cole was playing Jenny and Jake Wood was playing Ben and I loved it straight away,” he said. “I’d gone to watch it with my manager and afterwards I said ‘please call whoever you need call because I’d love to audition for that and I really hope you can make it happen’.

“I was a huge fan just as an audience member. It was such a fun night out. Every time the lights went down you wondered what was going to happen next. I’m just so happy it’s paid off for me and now I’m in it.”

2:22 has become a genuine theatre sensation and has been credited for bringing new audiences to the theatre.

“It’s a very accessible show,” said Jay, “and it’s really important to have these characters who are so relatable.

“Perhaps it attracts people who might know Vera through Hollyoaks or who first saw me in my band days.”

Bury Times: Vera Chock and Jay McGuinness in 2:22 (Picture: Johan Persson)

Vera added: “I think theatres need to get back to being for everybody and not just for people who had money or went to university and this is a gorgeous show for that reason. Honestly everyone can enjoy it.”

“I also think what it is is that there are so many parallels throughout the show to what feels like a very normal evening,” said Jay. “If you go for a dinner party there might be someone who feels a little it out of the loop because they don’t know everyone and there’s always the married couple that has a little bit of an argument in front of everyone trying to keep it polite.

“As an audience member you get so invested in these every day, mundane themes yet at the same time there’s this big question, is a ghost going to arrive at the dinner party at 2:22 in the morning?

“It’s captivating. It can bounce from these funny little dinner party faux pas into seeing a terrified, frazzled mum who’s scared for her baby. I know I was glued to my seat when I watched it.”

One of the main questions asked by 2:22 is whether ghosts exists. So how do two stars of the show view the subject?

“I certainly believe are things that we can’t explain and can’t possible wrap our heads around,” said Vera.

“I basically think it’s none of my business,” laughed Jay. “There are definitely things we can’t explain but I’d rather not have anything to do with them.”

So is being part of the show a scary experience?

“It is for Vera,” Jay laughed.

“I can’t help it,” she agreed. “Even in rehearsal and it was broad daylight if there was a loud noise, even though I knew it was coming, I’d jump every time.”

“The fake wine gets flung across the stage at the odd moment when she jumps,” said Jay. “There’s no acting going on there!”

Vera added: “I must be a glutton for punishment. I love horror films but I get very scared. I love that sensation of being terrified which is helpful for this role I suppose.”

2:22 - A Ghost Story, Blackpool Grand Theatre, Tuesday, April 23 to Saturday, April 27 (details from and The Lowry, Salford Quays, Tuesday, June 4 to Saturday, June 15 (