The House on Cold Hill
The House on Cold Hill is the latest Peter James novel to tour the UK. Adapted for the stage by Shaun McKenna, the play sees the latest homeowners move into an old mansion last inhabited 40 years earlier. Ollie and Caro Harcourt, along with their daughter Jade, have given up the bright lights of Brighton for the tranquillity of the Sussex countryside, but it’s not long before the dilapidated mansion makes them question the move.
Solid performances from the leads, Joe McFadden (Ollie) and Rita Simons (Caro), build the tension as the family settle into their new life. Aided by a suitably geeky Charlie Clements as local IT man Chris and the obligatory quirky character, this time in the guise of village shop owner Annie (Trivia Deighton), the Harcourts uncover their new home’s dark secrets. The first half feels long, despite the over-fast dialogue (perhaps to get us through the wordy scene-setting?) and there is an overly shouty vicar, however there is an impressive set and plenty of moments to make you spill your drink.
Directed by Ian Talbot, this is a fun, spooky tale with a modern twist. To say too much would spoil the surprises; suffice to say the plot keeps you guessing until the end when the hairs on the back of the neck can finally stand at ease.