A mysterious Snake in the Grass is discovered by the Rossendale Players

Helena Rose, Rebecca Saleem and Dawn Rowe
Helena Rose, Rebecca Saleem and Dawn Rowe

A darkly comic tale from the pen of Alan Ayckbourn is the latest production from the ever reliable Rossendale Players.

Snake in the Grass, which features a superb all-female cast of just three Players, is at times funny, at times disturbing but always riveting.

Rebecca Saleem and Players regular Dawn Rowe play sisters Annabel and Miriam Chester meeting again after many years, following the suspicious death of their overbearing father.

Completing the cast is another Players stalwart, Helena Rose, who is her usual buoyant self in the role of cheeky, scheming nurse Alice Moody.

As is always the case with any Players production, special mention must also be made to the Players' next best supporting cast member , the set, which as always is superb here.

A garden, well and tennis court are recreated on the intimate stage of the New Millennium Theatre in Waterfoot for the play, and they are not just there for stage decoration.

Without giving too much of the plot away, the surroundings have a psychological role to play in the drama, as well as some comic moments.

Dawn is excellent as the put-upon, drunken sister Annabel who may or may not be hiding a dark secret. She manages to combine slapstick, pity and anger in her performance of the enigmatic Annabel.

Equally impressive is Rebecca Saleem as the uptight, equally tortured Miriam who has returned home from Australia only to be presented with a deadly dilemma.

In his programme notes, director Jim Rowe admits Snake in the Grass is a challenging play and will possibly leave the audience with more questions and answers. I personally felt a bit let down by one of the characters, and I'm not sure what Ayckbourn was trying to achieve. Again, all will become clear when watching the play.

Snake in the Grass is running until Saturday, February 2nd, at the New Millennium Theatre, Burnley Road East, Waterfoot.

Email rossendale.players@gmail.com for ticket information.