Director: John Fricker
Starring: Ana Luderowski, Will Bryant, Chris Walsh, Joe Sowerbutts
Running Time: 135 Minutes (inc. 15 min interval)
Rope is the intense drama by Patrick Hamilton which originally mesmerised audiences some 84 years ago and then inspired Alfred Hitccock to transfer the London-based thriller to the big screen. ROPE is one of Hitchcock’s better known films but THN were lucky enough to attend this newly interpreted play by Outfox Productions in the Jack Studio Theatre in Brockley, and it was quite brilliant.
Director John Fricker, plays with shadows, light and darkness in a way which puts the audience on edge and reflects perfectly the question of guilt and conscious which undoubtedly haunts the murderers – if only initially on a subconscious level. Quite vitally, there’s great attention in the detail here which, in turn, leads to every slight movement or utterance having a meaning, and a powerful one at that.The director takes advantage of sound, just as equally as silence and this tool drags the audience mercilessly into the murder mystery.
The impressive ensemble of actors are deeply emerged into their characters and in full control of who and what they’re playing. No-one will leave you disappointed and although all performances were perfect, two specific actors stood out for me. The first was Chris Walsh as the hesitant and intellectual murderer Charles Granillo. Walsh brings his character to a fearful breakdown with the help of alcohol without ever being too over the top or ridiculous, and with it instills hesitant pity in the audience. The other was Ana Luderowski, who plays the only female character in Rope. She brings an intelligent, but breezy femininity onto the stage and cleverly portrays Leila Arden as a woman of depth.
The only flaw for me was the poorly timed interval but perhaps it was there to have a break where the suspense reached a high but, for me, would have been better suited earlier on. The venue might be small and humble but the performances and the play are nothing but extraordinary. Rope deserves a bigger audience and will have you forgetting the brilliance of Hitchcock’s film with its eerie, pure genius tone and deadly addictive suspense.
Photography via OutFox