The theatre is a vehicle that allows artists to convey emotion and ideas in a creative environment. ‘Snake in the Grass’ is a performance based on the realistic depictions of women facing the trials and tribulations of their pasts and present. It also has ghosts.
Presented by the Pymble Players, Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Snake in the Grass’ is an eerie tale built on the hierarchical interplay of the three main protagonists. The story relies on an investment by the audience to each character but pays it off with the climactic finish.
Jennifer Wilson directs the play and her talents are clearly displayed in the subtle yet powerful staging choices and her brilliant set design. Jennifer’s direction ensures that the entire dramatic space is covered and this makes for satisfying viewing. This movement is complimented greatly by the brilliant lighting work of Wayne Chee and Diane Howell.
Sound is a very important element in this production and Andrew Sommerich does a great job in saturating the pinteresque undertones with his unnerving score. The sound in this performance provides a lot of the dramatic tension and in conjunction with the rapid momentum of the plot grabs the attention of the viewer’s heartstrings.
The play relies heavily on the relationships that the characters share and the relatability of their individual issues.
Catherine Potter is fantastic as Annabel Chester; she encapsulates the delicate balance between an emotionally broken and pragmatic woman. Her vocality and stage presence are riveting and her interpretation of the script realistically conveys Ayckbourn’s original intentions for the play whilst also adding an artistic representation of the inner turmoil Annabel faces.
Potter’s relationship with her sister Miriam is both complex and interesting and her ability to switch between a submissive and dominating characterisation through body language and facial expression is also commendable.
Miriam is portrayed by Elizabeth Lynch and provides the fluctuation of a mentally and physically abused woman through her nearly imperceptible vocal changes and character idiosyncracies. Her characterisation is rich and she does well with such an intricate personality. Miriam delivers most of the violent sentiments of the play and these crucial segments add another layer to the performance as a whole.
Linda Young finishes off the cast playing Alice Moody; a manipulative and pernicious individual with a penchant for conceited dismissals of the two sisters. She holds the power for most of the play and her high status only serves to exacerbate a festering distaste for the problems she causes throughout. Young embodies this character quite well through her vocal tone and aggressive body language and as the main antagonist she moves the plot along very well.
‘Snake in the Grass’ is a culturally relevant play that tackles themes of abandonment, love, repressed histories and deception. It resonates in its truthful imagining of the characters and the supernatural elements present the audience with an opportunity to suspend their grounding in reality. This is a production that contains a very societally influenced perspective and although the cast is small the storyline maintains a constant flow of snappy dialogue and harrowing recollections.
The Pymble Players are a wonderful company to support and the atmosphere within the small theatre is magical. There is an authentic community feel to the club and everyone is welcoming and passionate. With the season running from the 18th of February to the 14th of March there is still time to catch this spooky performance.
But remember ghosts don’t take too kindly to people who leave their phones on!
Tickets here: http://www.pymbleplayers.com.au