head

Sheila

Terri Dwyer as Sheila finds married life does not always run smoothly . . .

Dial M for Murder

Belgrade Coventry

****

DIAL M for Murder is such a clever play, justifiably made famous by the master of suspense Alfred Hitchcock and produced here to good effect with a small but oh so able company.

We’re in Maida Vale way back in 1952 when murders were a rarity and divorce a costly experience.

Sheila Wendice (Terri Dwyer) is the wife, slightly dippy but rich enough to tempt greedy but impoverished Tony (Oliver Mellor), con artist, habitual liar and former tennis pro who is out for all he can get.

I think you can see already where my sympathies lie! Her former lover Max Halliday (Marcus Hutton) is newly returned from a successful tour of duty writing one-a-week murder mysteries for an unnamed TV station in New York.

There is a letter from him to her that has mysteriously disappeared at Victoria Station and which has become the object of a baffling blackmail attempt the terms of which she has fulfilled to no effect.

Scheming Tony befriends Max – planning the perfect alibi – underlying the perfect murder to be performed by an old school friend (Jolyon Young) gone to the bad, eyeing up a pretty but expensive widow but even poorer than him.

Needless to say, the perfect plan goes horribly wrong and Tony’s quick-witted response is truly shocking if clever.

As the police in the form of Inspector Hubbard (John Hester) appear to gallop up blind alley after blind alley, Sheila is within hours of being hanged for an accidental murder for which her dearly beloved husband has left a trail of incriminating clues to frame her deadly motivations. Inspector Hubbard is no fool but is he clever enough to fool Tony?

There were, to be fair, a few comical hiccups in this production directed by Patric Kearns but it is mostly a thumpingly good tale told well. Great set, interesting choice of music that never entirely fitted the scenario, strange lighting that seemed to bear no relationship to the storyline, and I, personally, find it upsetting when I see a character who doesn’t belong in a set leave a scene through a bedroom. But all that said, it was a very enjoyable evening – I like a good murder and this is definitely that. To 30-01-16

Jane Howard

26-01-16 

Contents page Belgrade Town Hall Reviews A-Z Reviews by Theatre