The House on Cold Hill

Manchester Opera House

Until Saturday

ALWAYS dreamt of living in a old country manor, well the reality could very well turn into a nightmare as shown in the stage play of Peter James’ ghost story The House on Cold Hill.

The theatre always lends itself well to a traditional ghost story, think The Woman on Black or Mist in the Mirror, great gothic plays to chill you to the bone.

Yet, audiences can leave the theatre knowing full well what they have seen is a work of fiction, the same cannot be true of this play, penned by the bestselling author, whose novel was inspired by a Georgian manor house he moved into.

And this is why this production works so brilliantly well with the family coping in the most British of ways when it dawns on them their “forever home” which they have just moved into and spending a fortune on could actually be haunted – with plenty of humour and disbelief.

There are a lot of laugh out loud moments in the play, some slightly uneasy as we know all is not as quite as it seems. There is also some genuinely creepy moments and moments of horror in this play - which at one point had the audience nervously murmuring!

The play is set in modern times – and without giving too much a way, I don’t think anyone in the audience will look at their Amazon Alexa in the same way again.

Special and simple effects create some spine-tingling and shock moments.

The cast work well together to portray a family who are experiencing the usual stresses of moving house – and later the added stress that they are not alone in the grand gothic-style manor.

BAFTA nominated actor and 2017 winner of Strictly Come Dancing Joe McFadden, who plays Ollie, and award-winning Rita Simmons as wife Caro have real on stage chemistry.

One to watch is most definitely Persephone Swales-Dawson, who plays teenager daughter Jade.

Together they work well to create a believable family unit.

Padraig Lynch, plays a typically traditional village vicar, who knows a little about the house and doesn’t really want to believe it, claiming they are all village rumours.

Tricia Deighton is the owner of a craft shop with medium type skills – and there is an element of Poltergeist when the family try to reach out to the ghostly presence.

The play draws on some of the best ghost stories – including a shocking twist - and Peter James’ said experiences to create a hugely entertainingly spooky night out at the theatre