Written by Patrick Hamilton and directed by No Drama’s Cathal O’Donovan, Rope is the macabre tale of Wyndham Brandon and his friend, Charles Granillo, who decide to kill a fellow undergraduate, with whom they had no prior relationship, in order to commit and get away with the perfect murder. The story takes place after the murder has been committed, the body deposited into a locked chest and the two friends await their party guests, amongst whom are included the unsuspecting father and aunt of their victim.
Having never seen the Alfred Hitchcock version of the story I am going into this blind. I knew it would be dark but I did not expect the humour and warmth which the actors bring to the story.
The set is simple, but perfect. The placing of the curtain-covered window, the lamps and the fireplace draw the audience right into the living room and into the story. The play begins in darkness and the lighting remains fairly muted throughout, creating a sense of nervous anticipation.
Expertly cast, characters such as Leila Arden (Tamryn Reinecke) and Kenneth Raglan (Conor Taffe) give the story a light relief with their endearing and quirky portrayal of their characters. John Fox’s strong performance as Sir Johnstone Kentley evokes an immense feeling of sympathy and pity for the unknowing father while Tríona Keane’s Mrs. Debenham brings some welcome humour to the tense dinner scene where the guests eat their meal from top of the chest, its gruesome contents unknown to all but the perpetrators.
Nikhil Dubey (as Charles Granillo) plays the every man, portraying the panic of normal people when it comes to the topic of murder and Adam Walsh as the servant, Sabot, offers welcome interjections which ease the tension. To mention the cast, however, without commending both Greg Freegrove and Dan McCormack for their roles as Wyndham Brandon and Rupert Cadell respectively, would leave this review incomplete. Both bring strength and power in different ways to this production. Monologues are delivered effectively and dynamically,leaving the audience hanging on to their every word and, at different points, not quite sure with whom they are agreeing.
Freegrove makes you question conscience while McCormack forces you to question man and his motives as a killing machine.
No Drama is an amateur dramatic group which meets once a week, but nothing could be considered amateur about this production. O’Donovan and his Assistant Director, Declan Ryan, can rest easy knowing that they have brought to life Hamilton’s tale in a way that can only be described as effortlessly brilliant.
Definitely a “must see”, Rope runs in The Player’s Theatre in Trinity College, Dublin until May 24th. Tickets can be purchased here.
[Image: No Drama]