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March 8, 2018 / basabbott

Perfect Murder?

Review

Rope
New Wolsey Theatre

Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play now comes over as much of a reflection on WW1 as Journey’s End.
The Nietzsche doctrine of living dangerously is there. The perfect murder philosophy of Leopold & Loeb, the young American killers, was an influence.
But the shadow of the Great War still looms in the character of limping veteran Rupert Cadell (Sam Jenkins-Shaw).
Fierce, sardonic, damaged, nihilistic, he speaks eloquently for a generation who saw the carnage of the trenches.
Like Priestley’s Inspector he appears as an accusatory, conscience figure.
Two superior Oxford chaps hide the body in a trunk on which the guests are served supper.
So the ‘perfect murder’ takes on a farcical banality, starting to unravel almost immediately.
George Kemp and James Sutton brilliantly chart the murderers’ decline from arrogance to the gallows.
The inter-war atmosphere is accurately re-created in Douglas Rintoul’s production, with stunning lighting effects designed by Mark Dymock.

Basil Abbott

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