Snake in the Grass – Alan Ayckbourn
directed by John Miles
Set in a neglected garden. Annabel returns home unwillingly to sort out father’s estate. Alice has also returned to demand a bribe of £100,000. She has witnessed Miriam’s slow overdosing of the old man and threatens to go to the police. Miriam has been worn down by caring for her father and is resentful of her deliberately absented sister.
She can’t pay Alice the blackmail so plans to ‘dispose’ of her by drugging her and pushing her down a well! Awakened memories and father’s ghostly presence disturb Annabel. Who is throwing tennis balls at her and calling her name?
There’s an uneasy undercurrent of fear in this garden. But that’s not all..... What happened in the tennis court? Is Alice dead? What has happened to ‘Lewis’, Miriam’s boyfriend? Was Alice really sacked by Miriam, or was it Alice who dispatched the old man?
Review by Geoffrey Wildey
Snake in the Grass by Alan Ayckbourn
Performed by Teignmouth Players at The Ice Factory Studio Theatre
“Snake in the Grass” at The Ice Factory Studio Theatre, Teignmouth from 25thto 29thSeptember, was a great play that really kept the audience anticipating how it would end. It was certainly in a different “plot” style to other Alan Ayckbourn plays.
The director, John Miles, definitely pulled out all the dramatic twists possible to make this play work and create the atmosphere this play needed.
The above would not have been complete without the trio of accomplished actresses. Top of my list goes Karen Allen for her performance as Annabel Chester, the sister who emigrated to Tasmania to escape an abusive father, she conveyed every mood swing required in this dramatic role, which in parts, many actresses would have tended to overact but Karen’s control was near perfect. The only alteration I would have liked would have been some “Tasmanian” accent.
Very close behind with a most convincing portrayal of the over-burdened sister was Nichola Aldridge (making her debut with Teignmouth Players – I hope it won’t be her last). She played Miriam Chester taking the audience with her through her life of painful drudgery caring for her abusive father, until the final twist.
Last, but by no means least, Esther O’Brien showed her acting craft to perfection in the smaller but equally important role as the scheming nurse, Alice Moody.
The multi set was skilfully designed giving a striking feeling of depth plus extremely clever décor for this small acting area. Daniel Saint had created some most effective atmospheric lighting with some mysterious sound effects by Ken Swan, which all added to the success of this production. Anyone who missed it failed to see a wonderful piece of theatre.
Left to Right: Esther O’Brien as Alice Moody, Karen Allen as Annabel Chester, Nichola Aldridge as Miriam Chester
Photo by Emily Appleton of Southwest Theatre Photography – official photographer to Teignmouth Players
Photos by Emily Appleton of Southwest Theatre Photography – official photographer to Teignmouth Players