You probably only know it from the Hitchcock film, but Rope has been holding audiences' attention since 1929. Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company have revived Patrick Hamilton's thriller for a short East Anglian tour in a production by Cordelia Spence.
Small-scale companies have very limited budges. The one for Rope, as far as the visual elements are concerned, has been spent on costumes and the furnishings of the stage don't really suggest either the time or the place. That puts an additional burden on the actors.
Eliot Ruocco-Trenouth gives a well-detailed portrait of Charles Granillo, the weaker of the two undergraduates who murder a fellow-student and then host a drinks party with guests including the victim's father as much for "the artistic angle" as for personal dislike.
His confederate is Wyndham Brandon, to whom Tom Moran gives the right degree of unpleasant superiority. The man who can distinguish, as his great monologue makes clear, between death through war and death through murder is Rupert Cadell.
Elliot Hughes looks younger than the former officer should appear but has an air of authority which makes credible the implacability of his actions as he deduces what has happened and the meaningless of it. Fluttering around this trio are the invited guests with Kirsty Mealing as socialite Leila Arden and Luke Penrose as man-about-town Kenneth Raglan giving the best performances.
There's an interesting sketch of the traumatised Mrs Debenham by Jo Lucy Rackham, but it's Ruocco-Trenouth's portrait of initial guilt and subsequent disintegration which has the most impact.