Rope is a 1929 British play by Patrick Hamilton. There is a good chance you may be familiar with the 1948 Hitchcock film adaptation.
The story follows two well off, young university students Wyndham Brandon (George Kemp) and Charles Granillo (James Sutton) and is set entirely on the first floor of their London house.
The men have murdered a fellow student Ronald Kentley, with no motive, rather as an expression of their believed intellectual superiority. The corspe has been hidden in a locked chest, which is center to the room where they invite friends and family around for drinks and a buffet. The buffet is served on that very chest! Can the two get away with their murder, even with the body in the same room as the guests? And what happens when a guest in particular starts to get suspicious?
I enjoyed this production of Rope directed by Douglas Rintoul. I felt it was tightly mapped out, keeping you guessing untill the end, with enough time spent on character development and plot advancement, for a well balanced unraveling thriller. The lighting helped evoke a film noir style which was very effective. Also the story still managed a nice line in humour too.
The whole cast did a great job from an acting point of view, nicely judged performances in both the more subtle moments and the more tense and dramatic ones, with beliveable chemistry and friction rubbing against the characters. They all played off each other very well. The play also explores interesting moral dynamics.
All in all, this story of a daring cat and mouse game is well worth catching at the Queen’s Theatre in Hornchurch.
By Ben Stuart