Snookered sounded promising – four people have their yearly reunion on the anniversary of their friend’s death, playing pool and celebrating his life. As the evening progresses secrets are revealed and allegiances shift, changing the dynamics of the group forever.
This is no play for the faint hearted. There is strong language , themes such as suicide and drug dealing, and a lot of drinking! Each character is ‘snookered’ (trapped) in some way, be it Shaf, the taxi driver trapped in a loveless marriage; Billy, whose parents have disowned him, or Mo, who is unable to conceive.
The play is well paced; it starts off light heartedly with lots of funny moments, then becomes more tense as breaking point is reached. The actors excel in expressing the bravado and crassness of a drunken lads night out, but their moments of vulnerability are exceedingly tender. They are excellent at bringing out the likeability factor in their streetwise, hardened characters. Small actions, such as Shaf spitting when he is talking passionately, or drinks spilling over messily, add to the grittiness.
I only have one qualm - it was advertised as "a window into the lives of young British Muslims" - this label was unnecessary. This could have been a group of young lads from any race or religion, facing the same or other issues that ‘snooker’ them and result in friction. I felt the play could encourage stereotypes and it would have been much more effective without the religious references.
Overall, however, worth a watch. Job well done!