Rope is a well-crafted, intriguing play with many layers. It follows two students who murder a fellow peer for fun and host a cat and mouse game to see if they can get away with it. The simplicity of the title, ‘Rope’ sets a mysterious ambience before the play begins. The play opens to discordant notes which emphasise the ominous atmosphere and we are introduced to the murderers. The roles of the protagonists, Charles Granillo and Wyndham Brandon, are quickly established. Brandon seems cocky and unfazed by his recent actions and appears to be the dominant one in their partnership, while Charles is very anxious and worried and appears to be the submissive one. The dynamic between them makes you wonder if Charles willingly agreed to the murder or if Brandon pressured him into committing the heinous act. The manners of the men and their expensive suits encourages you to question very early on why two well-bred, intellectual men have taken such action.
The introduction of Kenneth and Leila invokes a sense of camaraderie and a casual atmosphere. Kenneth is puerile and oblivious for comedic relief, which presents irony because the occasion is so macabre. Leila is animated and Kenneth’s counterpart, working alongside Kenneth well to amuse the audience. We are also introduced to Rupert who is a highly strung character and suspicious of the two gentlemen, however, Brandon keeps his nerve and presents a well-mannered front to the guests. The personalities of the two characters reveals it will be a perilous evening and creates a will they, won’t they theme for getting away with the murder.
Later, we see Rupert procure an important piece of evidence from Charles and question the butler. This is very important because it not only makes us wonder if this will be their downfall, it highlights Rupert’s intelligence and social awareness of the situation. As the play goes on, there is a peculiar atmosphere and pathetic fallacy is also used with the rain echoing the sombre and dark themes surrounding the evening. When Brandon and Charles realise they have lost the ticket, they have an argument and are interrupted by Rupert however there is a discordant bang and you are led into the interval, leaving you thoroughly on edge.
When you come back from the interval, Brandon lies to Rupert and cleverly dodges his way out of the trouble Rupert poses. After Leila and Kenneth return to the room after, Leila jokes there is a body in the chest. Brandon exhibits his reckless attitude by agreeing there’s a body mocking the situation. This makes you wonder whether intellect is what’s needed to successfully commit a murder and if they really will get away with it. As you watch the play, if you look carefully you can see a slight parallels between the personalities of Brandon and Lady Macbeth and between Charles and Macbeth. When Rupert returns and reveals why he has really returned, Brandon is calm while Charles has lost his nerve. This makes you wonder what Brandon’s game is and whether the men can still pull it off or if they will meet their downfall. The whole scene is tense and keeps you more on edge than any other scene in the play. Near the end of Brandon and Rupert’s interactions, it seems as if they may get away with it. However, as the play comes to a close you realise they will not, leaving you with a sense of fulfillment but also shock.
Rope is an enthralling, original play which cannot be second-guessed. It is unpredictable which is a major aspect of why it is an amazing watch. It is filled with uncertainty and many twists which leaves you questioning your own thoughts. It’s an intriguing thriller, bound to keep you on the edge and definitely worth a watch.