REVIEW: The House on Cold Hill is a spine-tingling ghost story that thriller fans will love

PUBLISHED: 12:24 22 May 2019

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.

Copyright Helen Maybanks 2019

A spine-tingling thriller that combines spooky scares with witty humour and plenty of modern twists, The House on Cold Hill is a must-see for fans of horror and suspense.

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.

Based on best-selling author Peter James' own real-life experience, it tells the story of the Harcourt family, who move into the house of their dreams; an old, dilapidated Georgian mansion that has been empty for the last 40 years.

However, their dream home quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares as they begin to realise they aren't the only residents at Cold Hill...

"Is this actually going to be scary?" asked my fiancé as we took our seats at the Cambridge Arts Theatre... but having spent parts of the play with her hands covering her eyes, it's safe to say she was left eating her words.

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.

Rather than relying on cheap thriller gimmicks, it's immediately clear that a lot of effort has gone into building up the plot and getting the audience to empathise with each of the main characters.

The cast, led by Strictly Come Dancing 2017 winner and BAFTA nominated actor Joe McFadden who plays all round good husband and dad Olly, and Rita Simmons (who played Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders) as solicitor mum Carol, are impressively convincing.

Their teenage daughter Jade (played perfectly by Zoe Hickson) quickly starts to question the nature of what's happening in their new home (aided by some very 21st century technological devices)...

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. Picture: HELEN MAYBANKS.

Meanwhile, Tricia Deighton is great as the family's 'hippy' new cleaner Annie - a quirky, eccentric character who helps drive the story forward. Charlie Clements (most famous for playing Bradley Branning in EastEnders) is convincing as nervy tech geek Chris.

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More than anything, though, the set design - a creepy Georgian mansion - builds the atmosphere brilliantly; especially in the way the unnerving period features are manipulated through lighting and visual effects.

A genuinely scary ghost story, it'll certainly make you think twice about returning home to a dark, empty house when the show's over...

The House on Cold Hill is at the Cambridge Arts Theatre until Saturday May 25. For performance times and tickets visit www.cambridgeartstheatre.com

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