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Snake in the Grass

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich

Review published in the Eastern Daily Press, 18 September 2010

Snake in the Grass

Alan Ayckbourn writes brilliant comedy with a dark side, an under belly of thoughtful, uncomfortable truth that makes for a fascinating evening, as if we are being mesmerised by a literal snake.

Director Judi Daykin takes hold of this less well-known four-hander and produces rivetting drama. Rhett Davies’ set, cunningly built into the small stage, is a delight, a deceptively peaceful, ramshackle old English garden, hiding all sorts of menace.

Two sisters are reunited after the death of their father. The apparently capable older one is played with perfectly balanced strength and vulnerability by Dawn Brindle. Her sibling, a masterful Etta Geras, is not quite as broken and crazy as she first appears.

Alexandra Berridge is the nurse/companion to the late old man who carries her aggressive disrespect very effectively. When she is dropped into the well, it’s a relief!

The fourth character is the presence of the old man, who exerts as much malign influence over his daughters in death as he did in life.

However, the plot has more twists and turns than a garden path, and the dark, brooding build-up to the unexpected climax is worthy of any stage thriller, handled with impeccable timing and class by a talented company.

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