Snakes and Ladders

by H Connolly

12th – 14th November 1992

Snakes Prog

The Cast

Harry: Robertson Bell
Wilf: Paul Shave
The Colonel: Mike Long
Mrs B: Angela Foster
Bob: Eric Saxton
Gaby: Enid Farr
Young Harry: Nick Roberts
Young Wilf: H Connolly
Mary: Tracey Brett

Produced by H Connolly

Newbury Weekly News review

Spirited Performance

Compton Players chose Snakes and Ladders, another new play by their own H Connolly for their latest production. To stage an untried work takes a considerable amount of faith in the group’s abilities, and that of the playwright. This faith was not misplaced, and an excellent evening’s entertainment was provided.

The action takes place in an old peoples’ home, where we find Wilf and harry, lifelong friends reminiscing in their twilight years. However, harry has a dark secret, and a visitor from the fiery pits below comes to claim his soul as part of a pat made many years previously. Robertson bell sensitively played the wheelchair-bound harry, and managed to juggle the humorous and dramatic moments skilfully. Paul Shave gave a gentle, dignified and convincing performance as Wilf and Mike Long as The Colonel gave a highly humorous and visual portrayal tinged with pathos. Angela Foster as Mrs B bustled around the set, always looking for her knitting, and keeping the menfolk on their best behaviour. As Bob, (from below) Eric Saxton was very effective and very evil. From the other department, Enid Farr as Gaby, looked and sounded heavenly. Making brief appearances in visions created in ghostly light by the supernaturals, were Nick Roberts as Young Harry, H Connolly as Young Wilf, and Tracey Brett as Mary.

H Connolly, who also produced the play, had a strong team, both on and off stage and the effects were good. The ‘Gateways’ that magically appeared in the set, complete with clouds of dry ice were super.

I enjoyed the script, and the author has a good ear for dialogue and is adept at the one-liner. This did not always rest easily with the moments of pathos, and just occasionally the actors seemed ill at ease with some of the lines. However, there were good moments of comedy, good ideas, and an excellent ending.