Review: Snake in the Grass

Neptune's latest mystery is an odd duck.

click to enlarge ALLAN ZILKOWSKY

The set of Snake in the Grass is an intricately designed backyard terrace with a dilapidated shed and overgrown tennis court. A woman enters from the brush looking rather like a goblin, and plucks a spooky tune at the piano. She scurries away when she hears someone coming to the house. We learn that this is Miriam (Genevieve Steele) and the woman who arrived is her estranged sister Annabel (Liz Richardson), who has returned home after the death of their father. On the surface, Annabel is the worldly one who has lived a glamorous life, and Miriam is the hapless one stuck caring for an ailing father. Throw in a nurse (Stephanie MacDonald) who suggests Miriam killed the old man, and you’ve got yourself a mystery.

With its plot twists, ominous lightning flashes, and a seemingly haunted tennis court, the play proceeds in many ways like a typical thriller. The set, however meticulous, seems more Hansel and Gretel than an unkempt British garden where a family drama is unfolding. Miriam, too, seems out of a different play altogether. Steele’s broad, impish portrayal of the character detracts from a woman that could otherwise be relatable as a person who suffered unspeakable abuse at the hands of her father. Instead we get a few degrees short of a woodland creature with hunched shoulders and false teeth.

Snake in the Grass is an odd duck. All of the performances and the production elements on their own are interesting and full of bold choices, but don’t work to tell the same story. It is a confusing, albeit very competent, mess. 

Support The Coast

At a time when the city needs local coverage more than ever, we’re asking for your help to support independent journalism. We are committed as always to providing free access to readers, particularly as we confront the impact of COVID-19 in Halifax and beyond.

Read more about the work we do here, or consider making a donation. Thank you for your support!

Comments (0)

Add a comment

Add a Comment

Get more Halifax

The Coast Daily email newsletter is your extra dose of the city Monday through Friday. Sign up and go deep on Halifax.

Recent Comments