Category Archives: Words and Sound

Deadpool 2 Review

Last night I got to see Deadpool 2, and let me say straight away I did it for you guys. Yes of course I wanted to see the film, however I have a bad case of ‘man flu’ at the moment (YES IT’S A REAL THING!) and yet I went anyway so I can review it for you guys… aren’t I amazing!?… ahem, lets continue.

If you have seen Deadpool, then this film is exactly what you’d expect. Deadpool 2 is more of the same. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, if you enjoyed Deadpool – which I did, and my expectations were entirely fulfilled in Deadpool 2. Lots of jokes, lots of over the top violence and lots of self awareness / 4th wall breaking. Its a good enough film, but it’s not amazing. But then again, I didn’t expect it to be.

First off, some things I didn’t like. If I’m being hyper critical, I thought Deadpool 2 overdoes the self awareness a bit… When it works (which to be fair is most of the time) it works very well. However more than once it seem to jar and actually slow the flow of the story line. The worse thing for me was how serious it was in places. It was very sad and dealt with some really heartbreaking things… I just don’t want that from Deadpool – but hey, maybe that’s just me.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool is obviously perfectly cast. There’s nothing more I can say that hasn’t already been said. Like Robert Downy Jr is to Iron man, Ryan Reynolds is to Deadpool… He IS Deadpool. Zazie Beetz as Domino was a really good choice. She brings a lightness to both the humour and violence and seems to balance everything really well. If they make an X-Force film, she would be brilliant a s lead character.

The absolute run away Star though (and I’m not sorry to say he completely steels it from Ryan Reynolds) is Josh Brolin as Cable. Absolutely brilliant! They have really gone to the effort of making him look the part and doing the character research. He is a much needed dose of seriousness into the Deadpool insanity and he really anchors the whole thing together. I would absolutely love to see a Cable spin off. Something very dark and serious like a (decent) DC film. And Brolin could absolutely pull that off.

So is Deadpool 2, amazing, genius, revolutionary?… No – It isn’t. And it doesn’t try to be. But it is a very funny and very violent comedy/action/super hero film, and it’s a really good night out. If loved Deadpool, you’ll love this. But advanced warning for when it comes out to buy… it’s not for kids!

7/10 stars


W&S Ryan Winsley Interview

My interview with local Actor and DJ Ryan Winsley, where we discuss his brand new film ‘Hooligan Escape.’ Available on digital download now or on DVD from Monday!

Play list:

Michael Jackson – Black or White

Prodigy – Breathe

Beastie Boys – Sabotage

The Smashing Pumpkins – Tonight Tonight

Soundgarden – Black Hole Sun




Five English football fans have a violent encounter with a group of Russian hooligans at the European Cup. Their fight leaves one man dead and a vengeful Russian with an axe to grind.

Two years later, former SAS man Ed Leighton (Ben Freeman) and four of his best mates travel to the World Cup in Russia, hoping for a trouble free tournament. Unfortunately for them, the Russians have other ideas. 

Herded into a Russian prison and dragged to an unknown secure location, Ed and his mates must find a way out. Aided by the mysterious Veronika (Ali Bastian: The Bill), Ed, Tom, Vince, Jeff and Davie (Charlie Wernham: Bad Education) must evade the most dangerous Russian gangster intent on retribution.

Starring Ben Freeman (Robin Hood The Rebellion), Ali Bastian (Undercover Hooligan, The Bill), Charlie Wernham (Bad Education) Kevin Mathurin (Rillington Place) and Ryan Winsley (Essex Boys Retribution). From the Producers of Hooligan Legacy,Caged, Undercover Hooligan and the upcoming Robin Hood The Rebellion.

Signature Entertainment presents Hooligan Escape on Digital HD 7th May & DVD 14th May

Braun Strowmans Tag Team

Well… far be it from me to brag, but a few weeks ago, I predicted that at Wrestlemania, Bobby Lashley would be returning to the WWE as Braun Strowman’s mystery tag team partner against The Bar. Now obviously that didn’t happen. However, the next night on Raw, Bobby Lashley did return, and this week on Raw, he was announced as Braun Strowman’s partner in a match against Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. So I wasn’t wrong… just delayed!

So where does this leave The Monster Among Men? Was it a one night only deal or is he now paired with Bobby Lashley for a run? Personally I hope the latter. Strowman has beaten everyone that the Raw roster has to offer that is at the top of the card. If he starts feuding with someone again it should be for the Universal Championship. However he has already been there fairly recently and WWE are obsessed with giving the gold to Roman Reigns. So I think a soft reset as a tag competitor for him is a good thing.

Lashley is newly returning and pairing him with Strowman, who is easily the most over star the WWE has on any brand, can only be a good thing for him. I think it will be great to help get Lashley over and Raw needs more tag teams in the division. Ideally I would like their pairing to last 6 – 12 months and then I want to see Strowman turn heel and turn on Lashley. Nothing surprising there, but Strowman can absorb a heel turn and it will help elevate Lashley to the top of the card where he should be.



London Horror Society TV

Breaking news on the launch of London Horror Society TV. Look out soon for  LHS founder, Chris Nials interview here soon.

The London Horror Society are proud to finally be able to announce the launch of a brand-new channel for horror fans everywhere: London Horror Society TV!

The channel itself will feature an eclectic mix of brand new content, and we’re delighted to be able to launch with the first episode of a revamped interview show Hanging With… where presenter Tony Sands will be quizzing guests from all corners of the horror industry.

There will be a huge focus from all corners of the channel on promoting the work of independent filmmakers. There is a dedicated playlist of free-to-watch films created by London

Horror Society members, friends and alumni, and this will be very much at the forefront of all the promotions within the channel itself, and via our social media networks.

Additionally, it will be a one-stop-shop for all horror fans to check out the latest horror film trailers to keep everyone fully up to date with what’s about to be released. There’s also a list of all personally curated free-to-air films that are (legally!) available across the rest of YouTube.

We hope you stay tuned, and of course enjoy our exciting new venture! Click Here To Check Out LHS TV!

The London Horror Society are an incredibly fast-growing community for all UK horror fans and professionals to come together and share the love of their favourite genre. They exist to support the creation of low budget, independent film making and everyone involved in doing so.


More Braun Strowman tag partner predicitons

A few weeks I wrote an article on my top 5 predictions for who Braun Strowman’s tag partner would be at tonight’s Wrestlemania against The Bar. If you missed it, here it is to refresh your memory:

That article focused on current raw signed superstars. However there are a number of other people not signed to WWE at the moment, who very possibly could make a dream return tonight. Here then are my 5 returning superstar picks for Braun Strowman’s Tag partner.

Batista – The least likely on our list is Batista, who has a long standing love hate relationship with the WWE. If you are to believe the man himself, he has had conversations about a return that were declined a few years ago. But that he would still love to come back to wrestling, if the conditions were right. Now Batista is a big film star, and it would be a massive thing for WWE to resign him, even if it was just for a few matches like they did with Goldberg. Stranger things have happened, and don’t be surprised if you see Batista make an in ring return at some point. Just maybe not as Strowman’s partner.

The Rock – If Batista is now a big film star, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, is the biggest. His rise to Hollywood stardom has been incredible and unmatched by other ex wrestlers… ever! But The Rock is also a very humble down to earth guy, who has made frequent come backs to the WWE. Rumours are flying around that we may see him again this year, and who knows – can you imagine a tag team made up of The Monster Among Men and the Peoples Champ? “Finally, The Rock, has come back… to Wrestlemania!…”

Chris Jericho – Technically I don’t think Jericho has resigned with the WWE yet. However, I think it is a forgone conclusion that he will. His appearances in New Japan were more akin to a good for business break, than a defection to a rival promotion. Chris Jericho is a devoted and talented wrestler who is arguably now in his 40s having his best run. He is constantly re-imagining himself and successfully so. He could make an incredible partner for Strowman.

Rey Mysterio – Rey Mysterio made a phenomenal return for a one off appearance in the 2018 Royal Rumble earlier this year. Despite also being in his 40s, Mysterio looks in incredible shape and was performing the moves with the intensity of a version of himself 20 years younger. Since then, Rey has continually said he would love a return to the WWE and it is almost a forgone conclusion that we will see him return this year. WWE also have history pairing odd couples. The 6”10 Braun Strowman and the 5”6 Rey Mysterio may be an odd looking couple but they could also be an incredible tag team. Rey Mysterio is one of wrestling’s most beloved stars, and this is a pairing that could really make sense. Rey Mystertio is a very credible candidate for Braun Strowman’s mystery partner.

Bobby Lashley – Bobby Lashley had a disappointing time in WWE. there was nothing particularly wrong with it, but it was no where near as good as it could have been. Lashley looks like a star with all the tools at his disposal. However, like so many others, WWE pushed Lashley to quickly and too soon. Since then, Lashley has moved to other wrestling promotions and even MMA. He has honed his skills, taken knocks and successes and has turned into the wrestler that he could have been years ago if WWE had treated him correctly. If you believe the press reports, he is returning to WWE and is all but ready to sign, if he hasn’t signed already. Top that off with the big rumour that he is in New Orleans for tonight’s Wrestlemania and Lashley become s the most likely surprise candidate for Strowman’s partner. It would make incredible sense for him to ease back into the WWE with a partner, and it’s no bad think that that partner is the most over wrestler on the roster. Once Lashley is in his comfortable stride we could see a heel turn and feud with Strowman, Apart from Lesnar (and that ship it seems has sailed) he is the only credible candidate with the size and strength to put Strowman away. They would make an unstoppable tag team and incredible rivalry when the time comes.

Whoever Strowman has as his partner tonight, one thing is guaranteed. The Bar will “get these hands!…”




Braun Strowman Tag Partner Predictions

In a few weeks at Wrestlemania, Braun Strowman will reveal who his mystery tag team partner is. There is much speculation as to who it may be, it could literally be anyone on or off the Raw roster. Could we see someone new, or perhaps a returning superstar? Those theories are coming up in the next post. So for now, here are my 5 picks for possible tag partners for Braun Strowman, from the current Raw roster.

The Big Show. The Big Show is retiring this year, and if you are to believe him, he is done as of now. However, the Big Show has been on our WWE screens since the late 90s, is he really going to retire quietly with no last hurra? Maybe. or maybe he will have one more Wrestlemania match by partnering with the Monster Among Men. I would love to see this, however there is a tradition of retiring on a loss, so that would mean a win for The Barr. Perhaps then, Show could intentionally lose, setting up a final feud with Strowman.

Kane. Kane made an appearance on Raw last week confronting John Cena. We have not seen much of him lately and I just wonder if his appearance last week is putting him in the frame for something more. This one may be quite unlikely, but tell me you wouldn’t want to see The Big Read Machine team up with The Monster Among Men. The trouble with this pairing (as he has with most of this list) is that Strowman was feuding with Kane. Never say never though in the World of WWE.

Bray Wyatt. Here we go. These last 3 are a lot more plausible. Bray Wyatt vanished into the lake of reincarnation at the end of The Ultimate Deletion. Broken, sorry, Woken Matt Hardy then declared The Great War to be over. Rumours are circulating that Wyatt is going to be repackaged… Everyone has assumed that means a new character, however what if it were a scaled back version of the current character. more submissive and looking to re-join his family. Story wise it would make a lot of sense and would be the make or break for Wyatt. But for Strowman, I’m not so sure it would be a good thing.

Samoa Joe. Another one from The Rumour Mill. Samoa Joe is not due to return from injury just yet. However the rumours are he has made great progress to the point of a possible early return. Wrestlemania is where magic  happens, and what a great platform for him to make his comeback. Strowman and Joe would be an amazing tag team. The technique and brutality of Joe. The strength and brutality of Strowman… It would be… brutal!

Elias. The last on my list, and actually the most likely, is Elias. I love Elias. I think he is a great in ring worker, a brilliant character and he’s excellent on the mic. He has been slowly moving up the card too. Now you may say, that’s crazy talk! The last we saw of Elias, he was being destroyed by Strowman. True, but, didn’t it seem odd that the feud just ended? It was very strange and I for one expected their feud to culminate at Wrestlemania. And maybe it still will? Elias turns up as the tag team partner, except he turns on Strowman and the three of them defeat The Monster Among Men. I know you can already see this happening!

Tell me what you think, get in touch on Twitter @cw_stagg and as always, thanks for reading.



Times Fool – Alys Earl Interview

Today on the Words & Sound blog post I am pleased to interview, writer, poet, theatrical sword wielding traveller (have a look at their twitter bio), and I am honoured to say friend; Alys Earl. I caught up with Alys recently to discuss their latest novel; Time’s Fool.

[CS] Hi Alys, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. So first things first, tell about Time’s fool.

[AE] Time’s Fool is a contemporary supernatural Gothic. That means it’s set in the recent past – specifically, the winter of 2006-7 – and is an atmospheric, slow burn kind of horror, which features supernatural elements, in this case, vampires. It’s about two bright students who befriend a mysterious stranger, while, around them a series of increasingly brutal murders take place in the city around them. And it’s about what happens when the stuff that we try to conceal starts to come out in to the light.

[CS] I am hooked already! Is it a stand alone or could you see more being done with these characters? You must get quite attached sharing a mind with them?

[AE] I am quite attached to all three of them, but as the story is a kind of coming of age to some extent, there is a huge difference between being attached to a character at the beginning of the novel, and to the same character at the end of it. The problem with being a writer is that you can’t be your characters’ friend, because otherwise there would never be a story.

As to sequels, it was always intended to be a standalone tale, although I will admit to having planned a short sequel involving one of the main characters and their life some time after the events of the novel – but to go into too much detail would be very heavy with spoilers. There is also a prequel, Some Chequered Affection which deals with an episode from Julian’s past and is available to read for free on the Unbound site, and can be bought for £5 in a limited edition chapbook – funds going towards Time’s Fool.

[CS] This may be a silly question, but who is Time’s Fool aimed at?

[AE] Obviously it’s aimed at an adult audience – it’s a little bit sexy, maybe a bit edgy and, it’s quite disturbing in places. But it isn’t gory horror, really, it’s for people who like your mist and manners kind of story – things like Sheridan le Fanu, Bram Stoker, M R James – but with a bit of a modern edge.

[CS] Names I know very well. I’m going to put you on the spot – who is your favourite?

[AE] It’s got to M R James. His were the first traditional ghost stories I got in to and he’s a huge influence on me and my work. But, also, he was just a master of the form. I’ve read his collected stories dozens of times, but if I’m in the house alone at night, they still have me jumping at shadows.

[CS] You are publishing through Unbound. How does the process work?

[AE] So, the Unbound process starts when you pitch to them, just as you would with any other publisher, and if they like what you’ve written, they help you set up your campaign and video on their site. After that, it runs like a crowdfunding campaign, raising the production costs through pre-orders and people pledging for extras. Everyone who supports it get their name printed in the back of every edition of the book as a sort of thank you, and I’ve done a lot of giveaways, rewards and silly videos to get interest from people who might support it. Then, when it’s fully funded, it goes in to production.

[CS] What happens once the book is fully funded, will we be able to buy Times Fool in the shops?

[AE] YES! Once it’s funded, Time’s Fool goes through a editorial process, we get the cover design and ultimately it is printed. At that point, everyone who supported the campaign gets their copy, but it also become commercially available – like any other book.

[CS] What advice would you give first time authors?

[AE] Just keep going, really. Whatever stage you’re at, just keep working at it – it worth it. So, write that novel, hone your craft, submit to that competition. Writing is a really long learning curve and we all started in a very similar place. Every novel starts as a blank page that seems to be judging you. Every publishing contract was preceded by goodness knows how many rejections.

The other, most important thing I’d say, is to find your voice. I wouldn’t say ignore all writing advice, but not all of it will be relevant to what you’re trying to do, or the kind of story you want to tell – and that may change, but its not worth losing that. It’s why you’re writing in the first place, isn’t it?

[CS] That is really great advice! How did you get into writing?

[AE] I don’t really remember a time when I wasn’t writing, and it wasn’t my grand plan. I’ve always written stories, poems, novels. But I was really fortunate to live in place with a vibrant arts scene when I was a teenager, so I cut my teeth as a performance poet, really – it gave me a lot of confidence in the power of words, and has paid in to my storytelling and reading style. After that, I went to the UEA (University of East Anglia) and studied creative writing along with literature, and that’s when I moved in to prose more seriously.

[CS] UEA is quite prestigious in terms of creative writing isn’t it? Did you enjoy your time there?

[AE] I really did! It was an incredible experience and I think to an extent, it made me as a writer. In some ways, it is quite an insular place, and there is definitely a writing culture there which perhaps not one in to which I fit easily, but it was really good to be taken out of my comfort zone and pushed to improve myself. I’m a much better editor of my own work since then – and, also, it was great fun being around other writers in a similar place to me.

[CS] What does a normal day for Alys look like?

[AE] Far too much of it goes in to housework and a lot of childcare! I write articles and stuff from home, so normally once I’ve got the kids to school and tidied down a bit, I’ll try to get my admin, crowdfunding and blog posts out of the way, so that – hopefully – I can move on to some original writing, whether that’s articles, or fiction. Fiction is my favourite, of course. Some days, I admit, I skip the grown-up stuff and plunge straight in to a story. I try to get about 2000 words done of whatever I’m working on before I have to pick the kids up from school.

[CS] Where do you write?

[AE] At a desk in the spare room, which I grandiosely call ‘my study’. I can write elsewhere, and often do, but the discipline of sitting down at a desk and getting on with it helps.

[CS] What kind of books do you like to read? Do you have any favourite authors?

[AE] I read very widely and eclectically. I love horror, obviously, as well as mysteries, thrillers, fantasy, science fiction, historical – whatever there is, really. If it’s well written and the characters are engaging, I’m really not fussy – if it’s creepy or unsettling that is bonus. I especially love things centred around folklore, and unconventional people and relationships. My favourite trope at the moment is what I call ‘found families in space’ which is basically where a bunch misfits and damaged individuals come to rely on and look after each other against a background of space opera and intergalactic politics. Becky Chambers – who is one of my favourite writers is amazing at this. But I am also very much about the dark and the morally challenging – so gothic writers like Angela Carter and Poppy Z Brite are huge favourites.

[CS] What do you do beyond writing?

[AE] Does storytelling count? On a small scale, I’m a folklorist and medievalist – and I occasionally do talks on that side of things. I practice a martial art – Kuk Sool Won – which a Korean discipline that combines both hard and soft forms, and I’m currently working towards my black belt in that. I’m also a bit of a tree-hugger, which surprises people sometimes who only know me through my fiction, so I have an allotment and home-brew country wines – which is a very rewarding hobby…

[CS] Thank you very much Alys. Last question… Where can people find you and find out more. Are people able to contact you if they want to say hi?

[AE] If you want to say hi, the best place is always Twitter, where I am @alysdragon. But if that’s not your thing, I also have a Facebook page as AlysEarl1. I also have a website,, which has links to my blogs as well as more general information, and obviously, on the Unbound site, where I run a blog about the crowdfunding campaign.



Things to do before leaving The Great Plateau

Breath of the Wild is incredible. Hours of game play that has broken the mold and expectations of what a Zelda game is, while setting a new benchmark in open world experience for other games to try and achieve. I have been playing for many hours now and have purposely restarted the game on the Great Plateau 3 times. I have come too far to do it again, but I do sometimes consider it! The World of Hyrule is vast and dangerous, and there are several things you should do before venturing out into the wild. Here then are 5 things you must do before leaving the Great Plateau.

Let’s wind back a little, what is the Great Plateau? Well, essential it is the tutorial area. As tutorial areas go it is huge. The Temple of Time is there. Arguably the remains of Ocarina of Times Castle Town are there. There are a selection of different enemies for you to cut your teeth against. There are mountains, fields and ruins. There are ponds and lakes. Forests, snow capped peaks and shrines. In this tutorial area you are relatively safe, but you will be astounded at how much you can do here. You can probably whiz through the great plateau in under an hour… however I recommend spending a bit longer there. Rush through and you will be unprepared for the feeling of vulnerability when you first para glide down to the wider Hyrule. I highly recommend you do these things first. By the way I will leave some things for you to figure out but there will be… SPOILERS:

Defeat the mini boss. Tucked away in the forest just below the Shrine of Resurrection, lies Stone Talos. He is a great boss to tangle with to fight something a bit more dangerous. And make no mistake he is dangerous. Erupting out of the ground he is a giant rock monster. However defeat him and you are rewarded with all sorts of precious stones. Why take him on? Practice and for the stones. This is not like other Zelda games. You are unlikely to slash grass and find much in the way of currency. Instead you have to sell what you find and precious stones will fetch you a great price. I recommend taking on Stone Talos after you have completed the 4 shrines. One of the items you find in one of them, will make this fight much easier.

Get the warm doublet. Poor link isn’t very well kitted out at the beginning of Breath of the Wild. Don’t worry thought the array of outfits he gets throughout the game would bring tears of joy to Zoolander. There is one very special item you should get early on and that is the warm doublet. Link can’t withstand the cold (or heat) in this game. To get through freezing areas you have to eat something that gives you cold protection or hold a flame or wear warm clothing. Enter the warm doublet. there are 3 ways to get this on the great plateau. Climb to the top of mount Hylia and the Old Man will give it to you (make sure you have plenty of cold resistant food as it is a long climb). Or complete the Keh Nanut shrine and it will be waiting for you in the Old Man’s cabin. Both of those ways require some other cold protection method. Instead there is a third option. Read the diary in the OId Man’s cabin. He will talk of a special dish he longs to remember. Figure out the ingredients (its not difficult) then cook it up and find him in the forest at night. Give him the food and the clothing is yours.

Practice with the bow. It doesn’t take long before you realise being good with the bow is essential in Breath of the Wild, more so than any other Zelda game. Practice, practice and practice some more. Practice long range attacks on enemies. Practice precision in cutting ropes with the arrows. Practice sneak attack head shots on wildlife. Once you are confident with all of that, try your bow in combat. Try a jump attack and bring your bow out and watch time slow for that perfect head shot.

Pray. I don’t want to give too much away here but once you have completed the 4 shrines, find the Goddess statue on the great plateau. Think back to other games and you will know where it is. Whenever you collect 4 spirit orbs from shrines, praying to a Goddess Statue will allow you to increase your heart container or increase your stamina. It is important to note that you can’t find heart containers in breath of the wild, so if you needed an incentive to complete the shrines, well there it is! You are not going to defeat Ganon with only 3 hearts!

Practice weapon and rune switching. You do not have to go the the inventory to equip your shields, bows or weapons in Breath of the Wild. Using the d-pad buttons you can cycle through them as well as the rune power’s (which are obviously awesome). It is really good practice to be able to to switch around without looking. In fact practice with all the buttons… I have lost count how many times I have tried to get my bow out and I have thrown my prized sword into a river! Not that many… but it could happen!

Once you have done all of those things you are ready to venture off into the big wide World. The question is which way will you go!?…




W&S Scares – The London Dungeon

I have been to The London Dungeon twice in the last year. Earlier in the year it was terrible, last week it was excellent! This review is going to be based on last Saturday. When I went earlier last year it was at a peak time over the summer. it was incredibly crowded, the queues were ridiculous and the actors were not exactly enthusiastic. When I wen’t last week it was much quieter and much better. So a word of warning, plan your visit for a less busy time if you can!

The London Dungeon takes you on essentially a history tour of London’s darker side. Think a little more grown up than Horrible Histories. There is nothing in here that will really scare you. It was entertaining, interesting and had a very dark and authentic feel. It made you feel like you were moving through the sludge of London’s dark past. I would not recommend this attraction for anyone younger than 8 and even then I think it depends on the child. 12 up is probably a safe bet.

As you go through the dungeon you are taking through many different rooms each focusing on a different point in history. Each room has an actor in to tell the tale and explain the story behind the room you are in. My favourites were The Plague Doctor, Seance and Jack The Ripper Spoiler alert here are the different rooms and rides:

The Descent

The Tyrant Boat Ride

The City Gates

Gunpowder Plot

Torture Chamber

The Plague Doctor

The Great Fire of London


Mrs Lovetts Pie Shop

Sweeny Todd

Mitre Square

Whitechapel Labyrinth

Jack The Ripper

The Court Room

A Great escape

Drop Dead Ride

The Tavern

The rooms are all really enjoyable, but it depends which actor you get on the day as to which you will prefer. When I went through all of the actors were really good and convincing. Once of my favourite rooms was Seance a brand new room for this half term, which hopefully they could keep as a permanent fixture. they are still trialing it at the moment, but what they have done so far is very good.

Of course we cannot forget the Tavern at the end where you can sit and rest in a Victorian theme bar and rink your ale. much needed after the preceding 90 minutes on foot.

The London Dungeon is a great way to spend a couple of hours on the Southbank, but been warned, it’s not for smaller children and stay away at peak times!

7/10 stars



Review Rope Queens Theatre

This week I was lucky enough to see Rope at the Queens Theatre Hornchurch. I have always enjoyed the Hitchcock film based on the play by Patrick Hamilton, but I have never seen a theatre production of it before. I had high hopes for this one and was not disappointed.

Rope tells the story of two 1920’s upper-middle class friends; Wyndham Brandon and Charles Granillo, who murder an acquaintance for no other reason than to see if they can get away with it. So confident are they in their criminal intelligence, that they invite an assortment of friends over, including the deceased’s mother, for an evening party, all the while having his body hidden in the middle of the room.

The entire play is set in the living room of a high end London flat. The set design and lighting are worthy of particular applaud here. For the first 10 minutes at least the lightening is very low lit by candle and cigarette light, before almost unnoticeable, it increases in luminosity until you realise that you can see a little more. The brilliant lighting also contributes heavily to the illusion of other rooms, with the sound design and lighting hinting at the activities in the realms beyond what we could see. At times I pined to be able to catch a glimpse of the dancing around the grammar phone in the imaginary room next door.

The cast were contradictory and brilliant. Fred Lancaster and Phoebe Sparrow, were wonderfully annoying as the young, naive and energetic society darlings; Kenneth Raglan and Leila Arden. Nico Pimpare as Sabot was not on stage nearly enough for my liking. The stars of the show however were George Kemp, whose egotistical, brash and ice cold portrayal of Wyndham Brandon was excellent, as was James Sutton’s much more subtle portrayal of Charles Granillo, who was fascinating to watch as his guilt and anxiety took him over. The run away star for me though, was Sam Jenkins-Shaw as Rupert Cadell. At the beginning of the play I had no idea how integral to the story he would become. His portrayal was a masterclass in character development, timing and delivery. We see him progress from intellectual, sneering and bitter war veteran, to voice of reason and suspicion before culminating in a desperate longing for the first time in his life to be wrong. Simply outstanding.

Do not miss this production of Rope it comes highly recommended from me. Go for the achingly tense pauses, the atmospheric lighting, the superb acting and the funny and emotive story, where by the end of the show you will question just who you are rooting for.

4/5 Stars



All photos used with permission of The Queens Theatre Hornchurch credit Mark Sepple.

Rope is running at the Queens Theatre until the 3rd March