Rope

Tue 28th October – Sat 1st November 2014

reviews

Megan Dunne

at 22:00 on 28th Oct 2014

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The genius of 'Rope' became apparent within seconds of the room darkening and a hush falling over the audience. The chemistry of Oliver Mosley's Brandon and Alasdair McNab's Granillo was instant; immediately the room was suffused with the tension between two young men who had just committed a heinous crime. Their combined energy as the darkly charismatic Brandon and the wilting Granillo was sustained to a lip-biting, roaring climax at the very end of the play. As objective proof, as the proverbial curtain fell, my friend turned to me and exclaimed that her palms were actually sweating from the tension of the final scene. Ben Walsh is incredibly potent as Rupert Cadell, the secondary voice of the story, running alongside that of Brandon. His glib remarks in response to his faffing companions were the main source of laughter, and the audience laughed often. The energy of Mosley's Brandon is such that the audience is carried on in his game; in his belief that murder is, perhaps, 'not so bad' (a thought that sounds absurd until you enter the Corpus Playroom and seat yourself before these incredible actors), but Walsh's final breathtaking speech grinds both the narrative and the audience to a moral halt, and we are forced to consider the true gravity of what our young Oxford men have done. The only criticism I could find in the entirety of the production was incredibly trivial: I felt that the general impeccability of the costumes was let down slightly by the garish blue polka dotted number donned by Mrs. Debenham, which felt perhaps too modern and slightly off when paired with the suitably muted dress of the other characters. The supporting cast is similarly impeccable and contribute to the absolutely outstanding performance.This show is a must-see; an experience that will stay with you long after the chilling final words.

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Gaia Fay Lambert

at 08:26 on 29th Oct 2014

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Chilling, powerful and evocative, this play brought to light the many issues with philosophy in theory and in practice, and was thought-provoking throughout. An incredibly strong performance from the main characters powered the play, which was a little slow paced at times. What surprised me the most was the dark humour throughout, cutting through the tension particularly towards the end.

A highlight was the captivating acting of Ben Walsh as Rupert Cadell, who was instrumental both to the building of tension and the comic undercutting of it. His contribution to the dramatic denouement was incontestably superb, but my personal favourite moment was a nonchalant (and as such chilling) speech about murder, perfectly balanced with Eleanor Colville’s well-acted portrayal of the innocent character of Leila, previously unquestioning of such universal truths as “Thou shalt not murder”.

Another incredible performance came from Alasdair McNab as Granillo, whose character’s evident unease with the crime committed evoked sympathy from the audience throughout, concluding in a dramatic breakdown at the end. The only criticism of this is that it rather stole the scene – McNab’s convincing sobs as he lay in despair at the front of the stage distracted slightly from the major confrontation taking place behind him.

Oliver Mosely gave a flawless performance throughout as the terrifyingly blasé Wyndham Brandon, and his acting was incredibly convincing – I’m not entirely sure he was acting at all, and may well have a body hidden in a chest somewhere!

The staging of the play was well thought out, with the chest being central at the front of the stage, adding to the palpable tension throughout. The lighting was atmospheric, and though perhaps a little too dark at times, it too added to the tension. Also adding to the tension throughout was the background sound, with a perpetual ticking clock heard in silent moments, building suspense. Further, the thunderstorm in the background nicely added to the suspense, and the sound of rain on the rooftop really helped to set the scene.

This play was well-acted and powerful, with the perfect mix of drama, dark comedy, philosophy and even romance. I felt genuinely transported to 1929, and entirely immersed in their world for the whole time – it was certainly an hour and a half well spent.

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