Dial M for Murder was written as a play for BBC TV back in 1952 and made famous by Alfred Hitchcock as one of his best films with Grace Kelly and Ray Milland in 1954.
Tonight there was a lot of history to live up to and People’s Theatre did not disappoint.
The first thing that struck me when we took our seats before the performance was the superb set, designed by Philip Bradley. The action takes place in the living room of the Wendice’s flat and the open door to the hallway and the stairs gave a wonderful expectation of what was to come.
The tension was made all the more palpable by incredible lighting. Shadows of the actors through the doorway added to the drama, as did the use of red light coming through the closed door as the story unfolded.
The deft touches of directors Matthew Hope and Jack Thompson made the story more compelling, particularly as the action takes place in just one room. This increased the suspense and raised the pulse rate of the audience.
Special mention must go to the five actors who held the attention and brought this procedural thriller alive by their portrayal of the fascinating characters.
Sean Burnside as Tony Wendice had just the right amount of swarve menace and cold cruel coercion as the ex tennis playing plotting the perfect murder.
Alison Carr’s portrayal of Margot, Tony’s wife, was the model of 1950s reserve with a sparkle of a woman capable of an affair, but a complete faith in her husband.
A nice twist had Emma Weetch playing a female Inspector Hubbard. She brought a twinkle of humour to the role, to add to the dependable cop’s determination and wry insight.
Robbie Close was excellent as the puppy dog Max, a crime writer who gets drawn in to the story.
Tony Sehgal (who was brilliant as Baldric from last year’s Blackadder performance) had just the right amount of light and shade as the nefarious Captain Lesgate. Or is it Swan?
The People’s Theatre worked with composer James Jones to create a unique soundtrack for the production. Together with the set, the lighting and acting performances, this made for compulsive viewing.
The hypnotic performance from all of the cast was key to the show’s success.
If you are looking for a great night out and a stunning suspenseful performance, this is it. Recommended
Dial M for Murder is at the People’s Theatre 21st to 25th January
Tickets are available from the box office or online at www.peoplestheatre.co.uk