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Rope | Theatr Clwyd

Rope, which was written by Patrick Hamilton in 1929 and later adapted into a movie by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948, follows the story of two men (Brandon and Granillo) who have committed murder for no other motive besides seeking an adventure and the thrill of potentially getting away with it. The duo hide the body in a chest of their living space and host a party to a room of guests including the victim's family, with the chest becoming the focal point of the party. Unlike many other thrillers where the plot leads to finding out the culprit, Rope distinguishes the culprits from the offset and the tension is built from how Hamilton's writing puts the culprit's morals into question and how they respond when under pressure of potentially getting caught out.

Francesca Goodridge's direction has the audience gripped from the offset, as the stage is plunged into darkness as we hear Brandon and Granillo hide the body in the chest. To the sidelines, we watch as the other characters look on into the conversations between Brandon and Granillo. Goodridge is incredibly inventive throughout, incorporating both satire and performance art that gives this timely piece of theatre a new lease of life. There is good contrast between the first act and the second act, within the first act we see the culprits acting nonchalant and jovial amongst the guests as the party takes place, contrasting with the second act in which the pressure is built as the truth is brought to life.

Lighting design (Ryan Joseph Stafford) and Sound Design (Dyfan Jones) do an incredible job of creating and building the tension, particularly in the moments of performance art and physical theatre. Good Teeth's set design is particularly impressive, whilst initially seeming simple, there are some striking reveals towards the end of the second act as the play reaches its climax. There are some moments of stunning choreography during the elements of performance art that are incredibly tight knit, and the cast move around seamlessly amongst each other in the well rehearsed chaos of the party scenes (Jess Williams).

The cast are stellar and each member does an incredible job of bringing their characters to life. Jack Hammet perfectly portrays the arrogant and cool-headed Brandon, a murderer who revels in the prospect of potentially getting caught out. Hammet's ability to portray a character who is completely detached from what is morally right is spine tingling. Chirag Benedict Lobo (Granillo) is equally impressive as we witness the decline of his mental health as the guilt eats away from him. Felipe Pacheco, Rhys Warrington and Emily Pithon all provide moments of necessary comedic relief and they are a joy to watch on stage.

Rope is a gripping, inventive and thought provoking piece of theatre, with themes of questionable morals and arrogance that still ring true in the modern day. Running until the 20th July at Theatr Clwyd, it would be a crime to miss this thiller. For more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4*)

Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Andrew AB Photography


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