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HAVE YOUR          SAY.....

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Alexa - should we see this play? Definitely!

The House on Cold Hill, Belgrade, Coventry, to Feb 16. In this modern twist on a classic ghost story, writer Peter James manages to incorporate a liberal sprinkling of modern technology into a tale full of suspense. Funny and fearful at the same time, and with an award-winning cast, the play ticks all the boxes. Ollie and Caro Harcourt (played by Joe McFadden and Rita Simons) move with their daughter Jade (Persephone Swales-Dawson), to a rundown country mansion. It’s a dream come true for Ollie and Caro. But sixteen-year-old Jade doesn’t want to be there and spends hours on her mobile. Swales-Dawson plays her part to perfection, reminding me of my own granddaughter with her phone stuck to her face. Ollie and Caro, delighted with the house, employ a computer geek, played by Charlie Clements, to install technical devices including a surprise birthday gift for Ollie - the voice-activated device Alexa which at times steals the show with funny robotic answers to Ollie’s questions.

But things quickly deteriorate and the Harcourts are thrown into a murky world of strange happenings. An old woman’s face appears in the mirror and the shadow of a man appears in the window. The family are frightened. And to make matters worse, Alexa tells - without instruction - of a disaster about to happen. Builder Phil, played by Leon Stewart, is working on renovating the house and is spooked by unusual noises. He tells Ollie about the time his father stayed there and saw the ghost of an old lady. Padraig Lynch, as the local vicar, is called upon to carry out an exorcism. Of course it doesn't work. And Annie, the craft shop owner who can apparently talk to the dead, also tries to help. This is a great performance by Tricia Deighton. The ending is dramatic, with a nicely executed twist in the tale. Well written and brilliantly performed, this play shows how much technology has invaded our lives. Anyone with an Alexa, should turn it off - now!

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