REVIEW: The House on Cold Hill | Opera House

*Tickets were gifted

Who doesn’t love a good ghost story? I’m well versed at reading them but how does this stage adaptation compare?

The House on Cold Hill, which has a follow up planned for October 2019, is by one of my favourite writers, Peter James. His Roy Grace series is addictive and I’d recommend anyone interested in crime thrillers to check it out. I haven’t read this novel so I was very excited for a spooky night out.

I loved the premise.

It’s a modern day supernatural take on a classic ghost story. We meet a family moving into their new abode. Their forever home. But what they don’t realise is that this stately manor is haunted by a mysterious figure who has a history of bumping off its guests.

And the use of a voice controlled hub in the storyline is an inspired idea. I have just bought a Google Home and it immediately had me questioning, is it always listening and how much control does it really have. That’s a chilling thought in itself.

house on cold hill

Did it have the fright factor?

That is the million dollar question. Scares on stage are incredibly difficult to achieve and this play doesn’t create much suspense or fright. The old hand use of loud noises or slamming doors sometimes made the audience jump.

But I think the real issue is that we see too much of the ghostly figure. Fear comes from not knowing and we knew too much. However, the ghostly projection and digital work is incredibly well done. Hats off to the video designers for summoning such believable apparitions.

On a side note, the sound of people chewing, coughing and creaking across the aisle is really not a good breeding ground for any horror. I’ve never seen it done well in a theatre so no hard feelings to this attempt.

Compelling characters

Rita Simons and Joe Mcfadden possess great talent and are the perfect leads to keep this play believable and pacey. Persephone Swales-Dawson is a little forced at times but obviously understands the teenage daughter role well.

But it’s Tricia Deighton as quirky Annie and Charlie Clements as techy Chris that stand out the most. They fully embody their personas and certainly captivated me. I must say it’s a small company incredibly well cast.

The House on Cold Hill might lack spine tingles but makes up for it with a gripping narrative and spirited performances.

Catch this play on tour near you. BUY TICKETS HERE.

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