Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 8°C

min temp: 1°C

Search

Review: Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, until March 17

PUBLISHED: 10:34 09 March 2018

Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre. L-R James Sutton & George Kemp.. Photo: Mark Sepple

Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre. L-R James Sutton & George Kemp.. Photo: Mark Sepple

Archant

Inspired by real-life events, Rope is most famous for Hitchcock’s filmed version with James Stewart, a failed experiment in long, single take film-making which never really came off. Seeing Rope on stage makes you realise that Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play is much darker, much funnier and more complex than Hitchcock’s rather strange transplanting of the story to 1940s New York would have you believe.

Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre. L-R Phoebe Sparrow & Sam Jenkins-Shaw. Classic drama re-invented for a modern age is popular with mature audiences. Photo: Mark SeppleRope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre. L-R Phoebe Sparrow & Sam Jenkins-Shaw. Classic drama re-invented for a modern age is popular with mature audiences. Photo: Mark Sepple

Much like Patrick Hamilton’s other stage hit, Gaslight, Rope is very much a play of its time and the period setting is just as much a character in the play as any of the people. As the play opens, the two central characters Brandon and Granillo are stuffing a dead body into a chest in the middle of their sitting room. They are about to host an informal gathering of friends and think it will be a wheeze to have everyone eating off the chest containing the dead body – at least Brandon does, Granillo is having trouble coming to terms with the enormity of the crime they have just committed.

Rope is an amazingly amoral play and as such feels that it should have been written by someone like John Osborne or Alan Sillitoe in the early 1960s rather in the late 1920s. During the play there are lots of sharp observations about the nature of morality, justice and the conventions of a civilised society. It’s a witty play, filled with lots of black humour and the dynamic between Brandon, Granillo and their poet friend Rupert Cadell is sharp and edgy and well-played by the three leads George Kemp, James Sutton and Sam Jenkins-Shaw.

Phoebe Sparrow and Fred Lancaster supply plenty of laughs as the dim but sweet Bright Young Things who don’t take long to work out that they really should share a taxi home together.

Rope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre.  L-R Cara Chase, Janet Amsden, Phoebe Sparrow, James Sutton, Fred Lancaster, George Kemp & Sam Jenkins-Shaw. Photo: Mark SeppleRope, by Patrick Hamilton, at the New Wolsey Theatre. L-R Cara Chase, Janet Amsden, Phoebe Sparrow, James Sutton, Fred Lancaster, George Kemp & Sam Jenkins-Shaw. Photo: Mark Sepple

The wonderful set by Ruari Murchison anchors the play in London during the late ‘20s and, with the atmospheric lighting, lends a lot of atmosphere to the staging. The one disappointing element of the evening was director Douglas Rintoul’s very pedestrian pacing of the scenes. It was all very sedate with plenty of long, empty pauses, and pregnant pauses as people left the room to answer doors or fetch things. Whether these were supposed to be meaningful or to raise the tension level, it’s difficult to say because they did neither, they just took the pacing out of what else was a wickedly enjoyable evening.

DanceEast are staging the world premiere of a new festive dance work The Little Prince next week. Arts editor Andrew Clarke spoke to choreographer Luca Silvestrini and soprano Donna Lennard about this innovative production

The Co-op Juniors are reinventing a piece of Christmas tradition this year when they bring their version of The Nutcracker to the Snape Maltings. We take a look backstage at one of company’s most ambitious productions

What did our arts editor make of the New Wolsey’s 2018/19 panto Cinderella?

The packed audience had battled through persistent rain and gridlocked traffic to see Jason Manford at the Regent last night and, my goodness, it was worth every hard-fought mile.

Geordie Shore star Scotty T will soon swap getting mortal for magic beans as he performs in an adult version of Jack and the Beanstalk in Suffolk.

Full of fun, frolics, laughter and song plus fast-paced dance routines and a bit of a soaking for the audience - all the ingredients for a successful seasonal panto.

HighTide, over the last decade, has established itself as one of the greatest champions of new theatre writing. The Curve’s Suba Das has been announced as the successor to HighTide artistic director Steven Atkinson when he steps down next year.

Michael Ball is performing live in concert at the Ipswich Regent next year as part of a UK tour to promote a new solo album. Tickets go on sale this week. Arts editor Andrew Clarke takes a look at Michael Ball’s dazzling career

Actor Chris Vince may be making his professional debut on the New Wolsey stage but he is no stranger to the Ipswich theatre as Arts editor Andrew Clarke finds out

Most read

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

MyDate24 MyPhotos24