Review: The House on Cold Hill at the Opera House

“People would kill to live in this house”

That line pretty much sets the scene for the spine-chilling production The House on Cold Hill which is on until Saturday 18th May.

Based on best selling author Peter James’ thriller it tells the story of a family who move into their new house only to find it has a haunting past and that they may not be the only inhabitants.

Casualty star Joe McFadden takes on the role of Dad Ollie, a hot shot web designer who has fallen in love with the grand property and uprooted wife Caro, played by former Eastenders actress Rita Simons and hormonal teen Jade (Persephone Swales-Dawson) for a fresh start as he sets up a new business and renovates their ‘forever home’.

McFadden and Simons make a great onstage team and put in a believable and natural performance as the loved-up couple.

There’s great support from Tricia Deighton as the eccentric cleaner Annie who has a penchant for being able to talk to ‘dead people’ plus there’s the ‘geeky ghost hunter come techno nerd’ Chris, played cagily by Charlie Clements, who makes it hard for you to decipher if he’s really all he seems or is hiding a sinister secret.

Set in the present, James’ tale is cleverly woven through the trends of today’s technology, using mobile phones and Alexa as supernatural channels to communicate through (trust me you will see the devices in a whole new light after watching this play).

Not wanting to give the game away or spoil the plot, I can tell you you can expect a number ‘of jump out of your skin’ moments, thanks to some fabulous special effects from Nina Dunn and Jason Taylor’s lighting design. There’s also a heap of atmospheric music created by Nick Llyod Webber to induce the goosebumps.

If you like being kept on the edge of your seat then The House on Cold Hill is definitely for you and at less than 2 hours in duration (including interval) it means you still have time to watch a light comedy before bed if you are still spooked!

The House on Cold Hill runs until 18th May, Opera House Manchester

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