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Review: Queen’s Theatre’s production of Rope is terrifyingly believable

PUBLISHED: 15:00 20 February 2018 | UPDATED: 15:10 20 February 2018

Rope will be performed at the Queen's Theatre until March 3. Picture: Mark Sepple

Rope will be performed at the Queen's Theatre until March 3. Picture: Mark Sepple

Mark Sepple

Growing up in a house where it is tradition to watch a horror film almost every Saturday night, I naturally have a love for all things dark and twisted.

Whether it’s a classic Hammer Horror or a new release with a questionable plot, there are few movies that I’m not willing to spend a couple of hours on screaming and hiding behind my hands.

So when I heard Queen’s Theatre was going to be putting on a production of Rope, a 1940s Alfred Hitchcock film, I couldn’t wait to see the story unfold right in front of me for the first time.

Based on the real life murder of Robert Franks by students, Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb in 1924, Rope tells the tale of how two young men murder a fellow Oxford student just for the fun of it.

The pair then place the corpse in a wooden chest and invite a group of friends over to their Mayfair apartment, including the dead student’s mum.

Dinner is served on the chest and despite all the conversations surrounding death and murder, most of the guests are not suspicious apart from their friend Rupert who begins to question the gathering’s purpose.

Starring George Kemp who plays charming villain Wyndham Brandon and Hollyoaks actor, James Sutton, as his nervous counterpart Charles Granillo, they make the plot terrifyingly believable.

From Granillo being petrified of turning the lights on, to Wyndham jokingly admitting to murder to try and distract the guests from the truth, George and James take the audience on a fist-clenching journey of anticipation and suspense.

The wit and suspicious nature of Rupert Cadell, Sam Jenkins-Sahw, and the sweet unknowing mum Lady Kently, Cara Chase, also add to the growing tension of the evening.

As well as the intense performances, the light-hearted relief from naïve friends Leila Arden, played by Phoebe Sparrow, Kenneth Raglan, actor Fred Lancaster, and the murdered student’s aunt Mrs Debenham, was very much needed and even heightened the dramatic atmosphere.

Produced by Patrick Hamilton and directed by the theatre’s artistic director Douglas Rintoul, Rope is certainly not one to miss.

The show will be performed until March 3.

Visit queens-theatre.co.uk

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