Through October 12
ROPE The Royal George Theatre/Shaw Festival
Who knows why, but it sometimes seems there were no psycho killers across history until Leopold and Loeb popped up in the Twenties and killed a young boy to see if they could.
Maybe because there were affluent young (White) men who could clearly explain why they killed.
The Leopold and Loeb story is still source material for stories of killers who donít meet the stereotype, although we have had at least two similar cases around here.
Patrick Hamiltonís ďRopeĒ is a variation on that theme, two Oxford undergrads who kill and put the body into a coffin until they can hit the road back to school for disposal.
Meanwhile, they have invited some people over for a cocktail party and use the (filled) coffin as the table for the food.
Yes, this is the base for the Alfred Hitchcock movie with James Stewart.
Hamilton put together a dramatic party crowd, father and fiancť of the dead man, a former teacher of the two murderers and others who arenít supposed to know whatís going on.
The audience member is supposed to watch one suave murderer, Wyndham Brandon (Kelly Wong), and one disintegrating murderer, Charles Granillo (Travis Seetoo), and Rupert Cadell (Michael Therriault), their one-time teacher.
He spots things early on and may have realized why the dead man is missing and watches.
Brandon shows no conscience about what they did.
There are two secrets in the show.
One is the murder.
The other is the clear relationship between Brandon and Granillo, illegal in the Britain of Hamiltonís day, an open secret to the guests at the party.
Joanna Yuís ingenious set allows the unsuspecting guests to wander from the living room upstairs and back, as the story evolves among the killers and the man who has figured out whatís going on.
Director Jani Lauzon keeps the tension going swiftly because the audience canít be allowed to start asking questions or challenging the plot.
Instead, itís watching a plot unfold in front of the audience in the Royal George Theatre.
These are not nice people, but they are upper crust and well-educated.
Thatís why you should see ďRope,Ē a look at murder most foul, not murder during a robbery or some other crime, but murder plotted, thought through and committed to see if the two can do it.
They can and the audience can decide if they regret it.
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