Theatre Review: Dial M For Murder

12 July 17 words: Jared Wilson

The Theatre Royal have bought their Classic Thriller season back for another year, and this time there's a Hitchcock classic along for the ride...

Dial M For Murder

Welcome to the 1950s and to a place where people are not always what they seem. This is a world of blackmail and extortion; where a wife shares secrets from her husband, where he plots her murder and where a crime writer and a seemingly bumbling detective are left to pick up the pieces.

Originally written as a screenplay by Frederick Knott in 1952, Dial M For Murder was picked up by Alfred Hitchcock and became one of his early movie classics starring Grace Kelly, Ray Milland and Robert Cummings.

This turn in Nottingham is bought to us by Tabs Productions and features a new and interesting cast. At first David Osmond seems rather young to be playing retired tennis pro and general rotter Tony Wendice. However, it doesn't take long for you to warm to his sneering charm and overall as he's excellent as a character you love to hate.

He's joined in the first half by crime fiction writer Mark Halliday (Chris Sheridan), downfallen university chum CA Swann (Mark Huckett) and his wife Margot (played more than ably by Anna Mitcham, although someone in the costume department needs to take a second look at her blonde wig).  

In the second half they are joined by Chief Inspector Hubbard, played by veteran A Touch of Frost and The Sweeney actor John Lyons. From thereon in he steals the show with his bumbling yet calculated detection - think Columbo without the squint and American accent. Along the way there are plenty of twists and plot revelations, but to tell much more would be to spoil the mystery and lessen the thrills, so we'd advise you to just go and see it instead. It's highly enjoyable and the musical accompaniment really helps to add to the drama.

This play is part of the Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller season, named in honour of the late theatre director. McIntyre programmed the rep style thriller season in Nottingham every year from 1988 and during his career he worked with the likes of Peter O'Toole, Peggy Ashcroft, Charles Laughton and Laurence Olivier. The season usually takes place at the Theatre Royal, but due to renovation it is on tour at The Playhouse and the National Justice Museum this year. Other plays featuring include Dangerous Corner (18-22 July) and Marie Lloyd and the Music Hall Murder (25-29 July). 

Dial M For Murder shows at Theatre Royal until Saturday 15 July. Get tickets here

Theatre Royal website

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