Review: Tabs Productions get Spring Play Season off to a flying start

Karen Henson, Amanda Howard and Susan Earnshaw, pictured left to right, in Snake in the Grass at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre.
Karen Henson, Amanda Howard and Susan Earnshaw, pictured left to right, in Snake in the Grass at Chesterfield's Pomegranate Theatre.
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A tongue-in-cheek thriller launches the Spring Play Season at Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre.

Snake in the Grass is very much a production of two halves - the first served up with a side order of comedy as befitting its writer Alan Ayckbourn.

Suspense and thrills follow as dark secrets are disclosed in the dead of night and an eerie voice rings out from beyond the grave.

However, all is not what it seems in this corkscrew creation which leads its audience up the proverbial garden path.

Ayckbourn is a master at exposing human frailties and complex relationships and does so to great effect in this play written for three women.

Karen Henson and Susan Earnshaw are cast as sisters who are reunited after 35 years following the death of their dad. They have both been damaged by abusive men, one losing her successful business and good health, the other seemingly driven bonkers by caring for their ungrateful father.

The siblings’ fluctuating sanity levels and shifting balance of power is well portrayed in the production which is directed by John Goodrum for Tabs Productions.

Throw into the mix a blackmailing nurse (played by Amanda Howard) who spots a get-rich-quick opportunity and the scene is set for an intriguing show.

Designer Sarah Wynne Kordas’ eye-catching set depicts a garden complete with raised decking area, a trapdoor over a well and a shrub-covered fence surrounding a disused tennis court.

Snake in the Grass is running at the Pomegranate until Saturday, January 23. Just watch out for the shoal of red herrings along the way...