George Kemp and Hollyoaks actor James Sutton star in the Queen’s Theatre production of Rope
PUBLISHED: 15:52 24 January 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 24 January 2018
A chilling thriller about two socially adept men who commit murder for the sake of living dangerously, is coming to Hornchurch’s Queen’s Theatre.
George Kemp plays Wyndham Brandon and Hollyoaks actor, James Sutton plays Charles Granillo in this chilling play which runs in Queen’s Theatre from February 15 to March 3.
The dark classic was filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1948 and both the film and theatre production is based on the real life murder of Robert Franks by students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in 1924.
Rope is written by Patrick Hamilton and it follows the story of two well-bred young men who murder a fellow Oxford student.
They place the corpse in a wooden box and invite a group of friends over to their Mayfair apartment, including the loving mother of the boy they just killed.
George Kemp, who plays one of the two murderers, told the Recorder: “It’s really interesting because Brandon and Granillo are very intelligent, and believe that they are above the law. They want to prove that they can commit the perfect crime.
“It was the first time that two young men from a well-off background, who have a lot going for them, commit a crime that isn’t one of passion.
“They do it to prove a point, and it was ostensibly, as far as the law was concerned, a crime without motivation.”
George explains that the murder created shockwaves through the public in the 1920s.
“It swept the world. It was so shocking because people realised all of a sudden, that people like the two students were capable of committing murder,” said George.
The actor from Southend, appears alongside James Sutton, who is known for playing Paul McQueen in Hollyoaks and Ryan Lamb in Emmerdale.
Speaking about working with James, George said, “he’s lovely, a terrific actor and a warm and generous man.”
He added: “The director, Douglas Rintoul is a dream. He’s not just interested in the world of the play but also the experience of the audience and what their expectations should be at all times.”
Instead of guessing whodunnit, Rope will leave its audiences wondering when the two schemes murderers will get caught.
George said: “It’s quite an exciting position for the audience to be in, because they know something that most of the characters on stage don’t know.
“It can be quite moving and dark in some places, but mostly quite thrilling because the audience is in this unique position of knowing.
“The audience is in quite a powerful position, and yet they are constantly wondering when the two will they get caught.”
The play is set in London during the early 1920s and the First World War provides an interesting context for the events of the play.
“Brandon and Granillo are students of philosophy, and the play raises moral questions about criminal punishment and how we handle it as a society,” said George.
“Particularly through the lens of the First World War having just finished, as this has a knock on affect for the characters.
“It irrevocably changed the country. Death had come into people’s homes.
“As soon as the murder is committed Brandon and Granillo both feel very differently about it. James’ character has a slightly harder time, and he becomes an unstable element.
“While my character is much more excited. He’s sure that what they have done is right.”
George is familiar with the borough, because even though he is from Southend and currently lives in central London, he describes Queen’s Theatre as his local producing theatre.
He said: “It’s very exciting to be here. I love the audiences round here and the people, they bring so much to the table.
“Queen’s has a great community hub, it’s a theatre that feels like it is at the centre of the local area.”
Rope is playing at Queen’s Theatre from Thursday, February 15 to March 3.