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The House On Cold Hill, Theatre Royal review: A modern-day horror with more twists than Strictly

PUBLISHED: 15:23 12 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 15 March 2019

Rita Simons and Joe McFadden in The House On Cold Hill Credit: Helen Maybanks

Rita Simons and Joe McFadden in The House On Cold Hill Credit: Helen Maybanks

Copyright Helen Maybanks 2019

Bestselling crime writer Peter James' novel The House On Cold Hill has been adapted for stage featuring an all-star cast and even Alexa.

The House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen MaybanksThe House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen Maybanks

Holby City’s Joe McFadden, who won Strictly Come Dancing in 2017, plays Ollie Harcourt and Rita Simons, best known as feisty Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders, plays his wife Caro as they take on a huge renovation project at Cold Hill House in the Sussex countryside.

Their daughter Jade (Persephone Swales-Dawson from Hollyoaks) is a moody teenager who is embarrassed by her parents constant canoodling and is resentful towards them as she had to move from her friends in Brighton.

But it soon becomes clear that it isn’t just the decor and plumbing that needs work as the house of their dreams turns into the stuff of nightmares.

The story, which is based on Peter James’ own experience, sees the family being haunted by The Grey Lady who appears around the house and even uses Joe’s new voice-controlled Amazon Alexa, an early birthday present from Caro, to make contact with the family.

The House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen MaybanksThe House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen Maybanks

A visit from the local vicar reveals more about the woman who haunted the house and it transpires that Joe’s new assistant Chris on his web design business is a ghost hunter in his spare time.

The family enlist the help of Chris, played by Charlie Clements (Bradley Branning in EastEnders) for help in tackling the paranormal problem.

Not wanting to spoil anything for you, there are plenty of twists and turns and it is a battle to rid of the spirit before it is too late.

This is truly a modern-day thriller with the use of Alexa, which left me a bit scared to go home as my flat is almost entirely voice-controlled, and Jade’s friend spotted the lady through Snapchat.

The House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen MaybanksThe House on Cold Hill Credit: Helen Maybanks

READ MORE: The Worst Witch set to bring magic to Theatre Royal stage

Joe is very likeable as Ollie as he tries to keep his family together whilst also questioning his own beliefs in the supernatural.

Rita is wonderful as Caro and provides the family with strength through the ordeal, despite her own fears, and it shows how much of a professional she is that she has embarked on a UK-wide tour just a few weeks after leaving I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

Charlie Clements, who looks very different from his days on EastEnders, shines as bumbling geek Chris and it is great to see him on stage with his old co-star, although Cold Hill House has even more ghosts than Albert Square.

The sound and lighting effects on stage created a tense atmosphere, in particular with the use of shadows which sent shivers down my spine, and the set was seriously spooky.

This is a sharp and well-paced thriller which will leave you on the edge of your seat.

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