Spine-tingling thriller to come to Dartford in the New Year

PUBLISHED: 07:00 19 October 2018

Peter James is back with a spine-tingling new world premiere play, The House On Cold Hill. Picture: Helen Maybanks

Peter James is back with a spine-tingling new world premiere play, The House On Cold Hill. Picture: Helen Maybanks

Copyright Helen Maybanks 2018

Following the incredible sell-out stage success of Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple, the number one best-selling author Peter James is back with a spine-tingling new world premiere play, The House On Cold Hill, coming to the Orchard Theatre in January.

The play stars Rita Simons and Joe Mcfadden. Picture: Helen MaybanksThe play stars Rita Simons and Joe Mcfadden. Picture: Helen Maybanks

BAFTA nominated actor and winner of BBC1’s Strictly Come Dancing 2017, Joe McFadden (Heartbeat, Holby City) and award-winning actress Rita Simons who played the iconic Roxy Mitchell in EastEnders, are joined by award-winning actors Charlie Clements (Bradley in EastEnders) and Persephone Swales-Dawson (Nico Blake in Hollyoaks) in Peter’s ghostly story of the Harcourt family, who move into the house of their dreams that has been empty for the last forty years.

However, their dream home quickly turns into the stuff of nightmares as they begin to wonder whether they may not be the only residents at Cold Hill…

When asked what drew her to this production, Rita said: “I’m a massive fan of mysteries and thrillers.

“When I was a kid and probably way too young I loved watching really scary films and I’m into anything mysterious or scary, which this certainly is in places.

The House on Cold Hill will be at the Orchard Theatre from January 23-26. Picture: Helen MaybanksThe House on Cold Hill will be at the Orchard Theatre from January 23-26. Picture: Helen Maybanks

“I couldn’t put the script down when I first read it – I was gripped!”

Speaking about her character, she said: “Caro is a very family-oriented wife and mother but, as a solicitor, someone who is also very driven.

“I think she wears the trousers in the marriage but I think all women wear the trousers and are quietly in control.

“She’s a smart cookie but she loves her family.”

Joe said his character isn’t what he appears: “On the face of it Ollie seems to have everything going for him.

“He’s just sold his advertising company, he has this great family and it seems like he has this brilliant life, then that slowly gets unravelled throughout the course of the evening.

“He’s very happy and optimistic that he’s got this house.

“In his childhood he was asked to draw the house he’d most like to live in and it’s exactly the house he ends up buying. But in the play everything starts to fall apart and you see his life collapsing around him. That makes for an interesting progression as a character.”

Joe said that the thing he is most looking forward to about the tour is seeing different reactions from audiences.

“What I really like is how each audience is really different and the further north you go they seem to get warmer, especially when you go to Scotland,” he said.

“They’re quite vocal up there. I also like how the play can change in each venue depending on how much an audience gives to us.”

Rita added: “Audiences give you such a different reaction depending on where you are and that means you in turn give them something different every night.

“I also love how during the day you get to explore different places, places which you’d probably never go to if you weren’t touring. I just love seeing different parts of the country.”

When asked why audiences are drawn to theatrical spine-tinglers, Joe said: “It’s the immediacy, isn’t it?

“You can see a story unrolling in front of you and you can’t press pause or get distracted by stuff.

“You’re right there, a captive audience, so when something is scary in the theatre it’s proper scary.

“I did a ghost story a few years ago, an Alan Ayckbourn play called Haunting Julia, and sensing that tension in an audience makes you feel really powerful as an actor - knowing that you’re scaring the bejesus out of people.”

“I think audiences love to be on the edge of their seat and sometimes jumping out of it in a theatre full of other people feeling that same tension,” added Rita.

The House on Cold Hill will be at the Orchard Theatre from January 23-26.

Tickets can be bought at


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