For CODA, the play must go on, even if all the larger theatrical venues in Croydon and Sutton have been shut, and especially if the trains aren’t running.
CODA, the Croydon Operatic and Dramatic Association, has been around since 1943, and they are determined to keep bringing quality drama and musicals to the people of Croydon, despite the closures of Fairfield Halls, the Charles Cryer and the Secombe Centre in the past year.
CODA has already established its annual summer show in the open air at the bandstand in Wandle Park (this year it will be some Gilbert and Sullivan with Pirates of Penzance), and they will be performing in Stanley Halls later in the year, too.
But for their first production of 2017, Patrick Hamilton’s thriller, Rope, they will be using the Royal Russell School’s Performing Arts Centre. The play opens on February 15 and runs to February 18, with evening performances at 7.30pm and a Saturday matinee at 2.45pm.
It’s a great venue for audiences too – right opposite Coombe Lane tram stop, and it has lots of free parking (and you don’t get that with a lot of Croydon venues).
Sarah Gordon, the play’s director, told Inside Croydon: “At a time when Southern Fail are making booking tickets for West End shows a bit tricky because you’re never sure if you will be able to get there, Croydon residents can get their ‘fix’ of theatre much closer to home.”
The story is thought to be based loosely on the Leopold and Loeb murder case. Patrick Hamilton’s 1929 play is an edge-of-your-seat thriller about two young men who murder a classmate in cold blood, just for the sheer “thrill of it”, to demonstrate their assumed intellectual superiority.
The story unfolds in real-time, watching as the young men host a party with the deceased still in their apartment. It is a chilling look into the minds of young killers and the idea that some men deserve to have the “privilege” of murder.
“In Rope, I have gone all out to write a horror play and make your flesh creep. It is a thriller. A thriller all the time, and nothing but a thriller,” Hamilton said.
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