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If you are a fan of Peter James then you’ll know that he is able to deftly weave unsettling tales which captivate an audience.
As an author, James remains one of the UK’s most treasured crime and thriller novelists.
Having previously adapted three of his novels The Perfect Murder, Dead Simple and Not Dead Enough for stage, The House on Cold Hill follows in their successful footsteps.
While I usually prefer to spend an evening laughing or singing along with a cast, I wasn’t sure what to expect from an evening of suspense and anticipation.
However, I was excited and intrigued to see how Peter James’ acclaimed novel would translate to the stage.
The House on Cold Hill centres on the Harcourt family who have moved from Brighton to renovate an old property the in the Sussex countryside.
The production joins the family of Ollie (Joe McFadden), Caro (Rita Simons) and Jade (Persephone Swales-Dawson) as they move in and attempt to adjust to their new life despite apparent rumours of their house being haunted and ultimately seek to overcome who or what may be living alongside them.
Flicking through the programme while we settled into our seats had the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end – Peter James claims that his inspiration for The House on Cold Hill comes from his own experience of moving into an isolated historic Georgian manor house in Sussex which turned out to be seriously haunted!
An article centred on ghosts and their favourite haunts further chilled me.
The clever set places the audience in the house’s courtyard which has many tall, leaded windows facing in to it offering the perfect place for apparitions and ghostly goings-on to happen.
I found myself scanning the whole set on numerous occasions to ensure I didn’t miss any spooky shadows or figures emerging from the darkness.
In a modern twist, the show throws technological advances into the spotlight. In fact, the family’s Amazon Echo voiced by ‘Alexa’ became a star of the show in its own right. Alexa appeared to always be listening and ready to act at any opportune moments – I shall definitely think twice when I next use one!
There were more than a few occasions when I could feel myself slowly sliding lower and lower into my seat.
The show, set and cast work together to build a good sense of suspense. One audience member even screamed at one jumpy moment!
I was pleasantly surprised by the production and thought the show offered a good mix of suspense, comic relief and dramatic pause.
Thank you to the production team for inviting me to attend the opening night.
The House on Cold Hill is finishing its tour at The Everyman theatre, Cheltenham this week. Don’t miss it!
Have you read Peter James’ book? Have you seen The House on Cold Hill at the theatre? Do you believe in ghosts? Comment below, say hello and let me know.
As always, thank you so much for reading.
Love, Thrifty Mumma X
To find out more about The House on Cold Hill and to book tickets please visit: https://www.everymantheatre.org.uk/