Cast of three for Toads' Ayckbourn comedy thriller Snake in the Grass

Snake in the Grass rehearsal

Snake in the Grass rehearsal - Credit: Bea Hutchings

Director John Miles, a stalwart of Toads and every theatre in Devon and beyond, is set to give audiences an insight into the thought-provoking play Snake in the Grass.

John has directed many Ayckbourn plays. This is a taut comedy thriller with all the hallmarks of Ayckbourn’s genius, with a well-honed trio of actors bringing out the humour and humanity in their characters.

Although the plays of Alan Ayckbourn will be familiar to many theatregoers, and Toads has produced its fair share of them, there are some titles which are relatively unknown.

And so it is with Snake in the Grass.

With a cast of just three, the story revolves round the dysfunctional Chester family.

Annabel (played by Stephanie Austin) left home 35 years ago, leaving Miriam (Nichola Aldridge) to look after Dad, who died a few weeks ago.

Annabel has returned from Australia - or more specifically, Tasmania - to make peace with her sister and wind-up Dad’s threadbare estate, which she has inherited entirely.

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Miriam, who has spent her life in this dilapidated house looking after that increasingly cantankerous old man, is left with nothing.

Understandably, there’s a certain amount of resentment, and Annabel, with her dodgy heart, is not looking forward to the reunion with her sibling.

Surprisingly, Miriam is not at home to greet her sister from the plane, but Alice, a rather sinister nurse (played by Brenda Hutchings) appears instead.

It seems there’s something dubious about Dad’s death, and Miriam is heavily implicated. Blackmail ensues. 

What terrors does this garden hold for each sister, and who would want to move to Fulham, anyway? Anyone for tennis?!

Snake in the Grass by Toads Theatre Company runs from January 17 to 22, 7.30pm with a matinee only on January 22 at 2.30pm. Tor tickets, call the box office on 01803 299330 or book online at www.toadstheatre.co.uk