Thursday, October 1

The House On Cold Hill

- March 7, 2019

Peter James, best selling crime writer, can never resist his passion for a pyschic mystery and this most recent page to stage adaptation sees him in his scary and twisting safe place. The strutcture and setting of this new piece are comfortably traditional and gothic. I hate reviews that tell the story so I will leave it that this modern chiller is filled with tricks and turns that once it gets going keep you engaged. Much of this is to do with some very engaging performances. The stock characters of a reverend and a psychic old biddy are fun for sure but it is in the main characters that we see this trad ghost st0ry take real shape. Joe McFadden is very real  as the modern husband and father, totally believable even when handed a moment of silly dancing and a reference to Strictly Come Dancing. Persephone Swales-Dawson works well as the mobile-obsessed teenage daughter, suitably cheeky and chipper, she looks like your typical pretty teenager heading into adulthood, streaks of independence and yet still so in need of her parents. Charlie Clements is terrific as geeky Chris, the techy local with the terrible T shirts, all electronic wizardy and a fascination with the world of ghosts. Finally Rita Simons, the absolute proof that years in a top soap need not drain an actor of the ability to work on stage. She is truly excellent as mother and wife Jade, a very real portrayal of a woman in a play that at times stretches ones belief in reality.

The House On Cold Hill may well be rather old fashioned, with a few contemporary twists, but there is no denying that it is thoroughly entertaining stuff and that Rita Simons is damned fine actor.

Theatre Royal Brighton

6 March

Andrew Kay

Rating: ★★★★☆

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