BWW Review: ROPES at Two River Theater is Exceptional

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"We should be able to choose what we inherit and what we don't."


ROPES is currently making its American Premiere at Two River Theater (TRT) through March 20th. This exquisite piece of theatre is a thoughtful and entertaining portrayal of a family and the ties that bind them. Wonderfully written by Barbara Colio, beautifully translated into English by Maria Alexandria Beech, this must-see play features superb direction by Lisa Rothe. The three man cast is outstanding and succeeds in bringing the true tenor of the story about complex relationships to life on the Red Bank Stage.

In ROPES, brothers Presley, Paul and Prince meet at an airport for a trip to see their father, a famous aerialist, who deserted them in their youth. Their father recently communicated and wanted them to be at his final tightrope performance. The men each have childhood memories of their lake home where their father would practice walking on a rope but they have long since lost touch with him. Yet they all recall his some of his words, "take the first step," and "forget what you left behind."

The family trip hardly goes smoothly and tension mounts as the men deal with each other's very different personalities, flight delays and the anticipation of a reunion with the man they hardly know. The story of their imperfect brotherhood is richly developed with revelations about the past, discussions of the present and ideas for the future.

ROPES opens with Paul, the middle brother played by Varin Ayala, speaking about the power of a stare. It is a thoughtful, sensitive monologue that helps to define his character and sets the pace for the play. Gabriel Gutierrez plays Prince, the youngest brother and a hipster type. Luis Moreno plays Presley, the oldest brother and a wealthy, successful contractor. Ayala, Gutierrez and Moreno are exceptional in their roles as they capture the individual dispositions of the brothers.

The Creative Team has done a fantastic job of bringing ROPES to the stage with a flexible and attractive modern design. The team includes scenic design by Narelle Sissons, costume design by Theresa Squire, lighting design by Mary Louise Geiger and sound design by Stowe Nelson. The Composer is Daniel Kluger, the Fight Director is Gerardo Rodriguez and the Tight Wire Instructor and Technical Advisor is Justin David Provoncha. Casting is by Annie Henk and the Production Stage Manager is Alison Hassman.

ROPES is a show that portrays humanity with the right touches of comedy and angst. It is a moving story about forgiveness and the ultimate opportunity to embrace members of a family, in spite of conflicts and dissimilarities. See it now with someone you love.

Performances of ROPES will continue through Sunday March 20th in the Marion Huber Theater at Two River Theater located at 21 Bridge Street, Red Bank, New Jersey 07701. The approximate running time is 90 minutes without an intermission. ROPES will also be presented in two performances in Spanish: a student matinee on Thursday, March 3rd and a public performance on Sunday, March 6th at 3:00 pm. For tickets and more information call 732.345.1400 or visit

Photo Credit: T. Charles Erickson

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