Review by OONMedia
Alan Ayckbourn ‘s “Snake in the Grass” performed by Bebington Dramatic Society and directed by David Oliver at The Gladstone Theatre
The cast and crew are to be congratulated for an outstanding production. This is not an easy play to perform. The characters are complicated, the humour is tempered with suspense and psychological tension, yet David Oliver achieved all of this and delivered a standard that we have come to expect from BDS.
The play is a 3-hander, all female cast. It tells the story of 2 sisters, Annabelle (Caroline Kay) and Miriam (Marie Williams) whom have not seen each other for many years, brought together again following the death of their overpowering, dominant father. The third character, played by Paula Condliffe-Hughes is the deceased nurse, Alice Moody, formerly fired from post by Miriam. It soon becomes apparent that both sisters despised their Father and had suffered mental and physical abuse. Enter the nurse with evidence that Miriam may have killed the father.
Caroline Kay delivered an entirely believable performance, demonstrating her independence and success but scarred not only from her Father, but also an abusive ex husband. We had empathised with her character throughout, particularly when she admits she is a recovering alcoholic.
Marie Williams delivered an outstanding performance as the downtrodden daughter that had social and personal issues. Her character required a detachment from reality, yet an understanding of how she could manipulate her sister, Annabelle. Marie embraced the role and kept the audience on the edge of their seats until the final reveal. Her comic timing, combined with the suspense and underlying psychological issues had me captivated and engaged until the final curtain.
Paula Condliffe Hughes as Alice was menacing as the protagonist and blackmailer and her Lancashire accent didn’t falter. She delivered a truthful to the character sterling performance.
Special mention needs to go to Lights (Steve Bell) and sound (James Kay). This play calls for darkened outdoor scenes at night. It was lit beautifully with great delineation from night to daylight without audiences struggling to see. Sound was delivered on cue and clearly a great deal of thought had been put into developing a highly appropriate soundscape.
The set, outdoors in the garden, was exceptional. The designer has given great thought to positioning of the essential dressing and as an outdoor space, it was believable
All in all, David Oliver has a delivered a fast paced, dynamic piece of theatre that I can highly recommend. There are only 2 performances left, but I encourage anyone to see this highly entertaining production. The play ends it’s run on Saturday 24 November 2018.
This production receives 4.5 OON Stars