A Tale For A Dark and Cold Shrewsbury Winter's Night

Peter James’

The House On Cold Hill

Theatre Severn

Monday4th…Saturday9th February 2019


Everyone loves a good ghost story especially when Winter stretches ahead like an interminable dark sentence, we love to illuminate the darkness with scary and blood curdling tales. We have done since the days we sat round the camp fire in furs and for sure we will go on doing it because it’s fun to be scared a little.

Well suspend your disbelief and get yourself to see this one if you can. Peter James’ The House On Cold Hill presents us all with many situations that some of the audience may identify with, others will identify with other bits. But whatever the demography of the audience,  if there were the sceptics there they kept themselves very quiet.

This is a ghost story that entertains, brought straight into 21st century will references to texting, face timing, social media even Alexa, gets a speaking part. Enough said, I shall give no more of the plot or the story but I will talk about the performances that have just been witnessed.

It is the eve of Ollie’s 40th Birthday, unfortunately there are other guests that either don’t want him to reach Forty and there are some guests that would have been refused entry had they presumed to knock. This is a good fun down to earth honest ghost story. Feasible, as they all are! And why not? No one has categorically denied the existence of ghosts with any conclusive proof and no one has  proved their existence either. That’s interesting; But that’s what makes a good ghost story and that what this is, a good ghost story.

If you wanted the style decided on then this is a classic Stanislavskian performance. Full character immersion, fully built set, even the clothes are Stanislavskian signs of a completed character. But the commitment to character was equalled with the commitment to the story and moving the plot forward. To achieve that means total character immersion. Here we witness this being done so beautifully.

The set is perfect, solid none shaking, well built and designed representing the main living room of The House On Cold Hill. Lighting and sound cues all seemed to work perfectly and with subtle lighting changes the technicians brought just the right amount of tension at just the right time.

Acting-wise this is a well performed show. There is a commitment to character which give this a real feel of believability. All actors shone but together and not against each other. Everyone worked well and not one actor will be pulled out for castigation from this humble reviewer.

However attention must turn to young Persephone Swales-Dawson. Normally seen hanging around and getting up to no good in Hollyoaks, here she is giving a performance way above her years of possible experience. That indicates that this girl’s career is off to a flying start and so it should be, she’s marvellous. She will be around for a long time yet look out for her.

Ollie the obvious cynic was portrayed well by Joe Mc. Fadden, poor old soul all he wants is to celebrate his birthday with his family and live an ordinary life….Oh dear; Stirling work from Mc. Fadden. Like-wise his wife Caro played equally as commendably by Rita Simons. But to pick one out above the other would be impossible this is a strong ensemble team. There is a wealth of experience between them and Shrewsbury will take them to their own. One is sure of that.

Get along this week the Theatre Severn check it out for yourself it’s a good show and you will be soon to learn you never know who’s stood watching you during the darkest hours of the night!

This is a Four Star Review

Owen J.Lewis


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to loveshrewsbury.com for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

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