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Waterfront Festival

Theatre Review: The House on the Cold Hill

30 January 19 words: Becki Crossley

Beware the old house shrouded in local legend

The House on the Cold Hill production photo

From number one best-selling author Peter James comes The House on Cold Hill, a ‘modern day supernatural thriller’ that lives up to its title with a combination of 1800-era spooks and a haunted Alexa.

The setting and the story are a well-trod path within the genre – an old house shrouded in local legend, a sweet family looking for their ‘forever home’, and shadowy things that go bump in the night. As a self-professed connoisseur of horror, from the delightfully awful to the spine-tinglingly clever, for me The House on Cold Hill sits somewhere comfortably, and enjoyably, in the middle.

Joe McFadden (Heartbeat, Holby City) and Rita Simons (Eastenders) brilliantly play a very much in love – but with long burning tensions under the surface – couple, with Persephone Swales-Dawnson (Hollyoaks) as their reluctant-to-be-here teenage daughter. Charlie Clements (Eastenders) joins them as the supernatural-obsessed techie, convincing them that there’s something more than dodgy plumbing amiss in their new home.

The action takes place in the heart of Cold Hill House, a mansion built around a crumbling monastery that’s been vacant for the last forty years. As the Harcourt family discover the sordid history of their dream home, there are plenty of chilling moments as the lights flicker, the Alexa speaker starts spewing deadly premonitions, and something lurks upstage in the dark. However, if you’re looking for something that will shock you from your seat, it never quite gets there.

The talented and likable cast carry the story to a satisfying – if somewhat formulaic – ending, making it a perfectly enjoyable thriller if you’re looking for a shiver down your spine, without having to sleep with the lights on for the next week.

The House on Cold Hill plays at Nottingham's Theatre Royal until Saturday 2 February 2019.

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