Reviewed by Angela Savage
As the blurb on the advertising for this production says ‘Can you ever get away with the perfect crime? And in this brand-new production of Dial M for Murder, we find out. Described as the blueprint for the modern thriller, this production, directed by Anthony Banks, takes us on a rollercoaster of emotions and kept me gripped throughout. Having been postponed a number of times due to covid, this latest production is touring the UK for most of 2021.
A crime mystery thriller, Dial M for Murder was a play written in the 1950’s by Frederick Knott, adapted for the well-known film that was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The play premiered in 1952 on BBC Television, before being performed on stage in the same year in London’s West End in June, and then New York’s Broadway in October. We find out early on in the play who the prime suspect is and follow the plot through to the end- does he get his comeuppance- well you’ll have to see it to find out!
Tom Chambers, star of Strictly Come Dancing and Holby City, plays the charismatic (if pretty smug) and manipulative Tony Wendice, an ex-tennis pro in the times before tennis players made any money. Diana Vickers, X Factor finalist, plays his wealthy socialite wife Margot, who is having an affair with writer Max Halliday (Michael Salami from Hollyoaks). We quickly find out that Tony has discovered their affair and is planning to have Margot killed so he can inherit her fortune (it seems he mainly married her for her money).
To facilitate his plan, Tony arranges a meeting with an old contact Captain Lesgate, (Christopher Harper from Coronation Street, who also plays Inspector Hubbard), with the ruse of buying his car, and tells him of Margot’s affair. Six months previously, Tony had stolen Margot’s handbag, which contained a letter from Mark at the height of their affair, and anonymously blackmailed her to try to push her to admit to the situation. When this didn’t work, he started to plan a more extreme plot, and this led to him blackmailing Lesgate; he can either accept £1,000 to kill Margot, or be turned in as Margot’s blackmailer. He agrees to the murder and Tony explains his plan.
The rest of the just over two hour production packs lots in and there is much for the audience to think about as it twists and turns. The set, designed by David Woodhead, stays the same throughout as the living room of the Maida Vale flat where all the action takes place and encompasses the 60’s era, with furniture, potted plants and a soundtrack to match. I really enjoyed the jarring music and lighting to symbolise dramatic moments and create even more tension. Every member of the cast performs their parts convincingly and with energy, and the whole performance is gripping, highly entertaining and engaging until the end.
Dial M for Murder is the perfect escape for a couple of hours!
Tickets cost from £15-£45
Dial M for Murder Tuesday 19 – Saturday 23 October, Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield. For more information or to book tickets visit https://www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk/events/dial-m-for-murder or call the box office on 01142496000
55 Norfolk Street, Sheffield, S1 1DA