A new production of Frederick Knott’s “Dial M for Murder” began this week at Leicester Curve Theatre. The thriller, best known for being adapted for film by Alfred Hitchcock in 1954, follows tennis player Tony Wendice (Tom Chambers of Strictly Come Dancing fame) as he attempts to carry out a plan to murder his wife Margot (Diana Vickers of The X Factor fame).
The story is slow to get going, with lots of set up necessary for the fairly complicated plot which follows. Thankfully, the dialogue and premise is interesting enough to hold your attention. Chambers and Vickers are joined by Michael Salami (as thriller writer Max Halliday) and Christopher Harper (in the roles of both Captain Lesgate and Inspector Hubbard).
The second act, following on from a twist at the end of the first, is much more fast-paced, and it is here that the set up begins to pay off. The actors, Harper especially, came into their own in the second half, and the conclusion was thoroughly satisfying (although it did take a few seconds to properly work out what was going on!)
The set is fantastic, a 1950s apartment that seems both posh and pristine but crooked at the same time, hinting at the twisted tale that is about to follow. The lighting and sound design really stood out to me, with inventive techniques showing the passage of time and helping to build tension at the right places.
Overall, this isn’t a piece of theatre that will necessarily have you on the edge of your seat, but with several twists and turns and a very clever, intricate plot, this is certainly one of the better thrillers that I’ve seen at the theatre.
“Dial M for Murder” is touring until December. Check their website for more details: https://dialmformurderplay.com/
Tom Morley, September 2021