Reviewed by Nicky Jones
Opening Night verdict ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
This brand-new production of Frederik Knott’s 1952 play Dial M For Murder is filled with tension, fast-paced narrative and gripping moments – and it’s at The Lowry for one week only!
Dial M For Murder isn’t a straight forward murder mystery, as the audience follow the planning of the crime and see the repercussions unravel throughout the play.
The plot entails ex-tennis pro Tony Wendice (Tom Chambers) wanting to have his wealthy wife, Margot (Diana Vickers), murdered so he can get his hands on her inheritance. When he discovers her affair with Mark Halliday (Michael Salami), he comes up with the perfect plan to kill her. He blackmails an old acquaintance Captain Lesgate (Christopher Harper) into carrying out the murder, but the carefully-orchestrated set-up goes awry, and Margot stays alive. Now Wendice must frantically scheme to outwit the Inspector (also Christoper Harper) and police to avoid having his plot detected.
Lead Tom Chambers gives a sinister performance as Tony, putting the audience on edge throughout – this man is really not somebody who can be trusted. He pulls off the intensity of this character extremely well, giving extra wide smiles and long stares to those around him. His on-stage relationship with Diana Vickers (Margot) is brilliant, and she herself portrays her character delicately. Diana does a fantastic job of making her character’s two relationships believable, and her vulnerability in each is portrayed elegantly. I particularly felt for her after her murder scene, where the switch from her confident character to her being controlled and defeated down by her husband was really well played.
I really felt drawn into Margot’s relationship with Max (Michael Salami), and you could really feel the connection throughout their scenes together.
Christopher Harper did a superb job of portraying Captain Lesgate and Inspector Hubbard, and his performance of the Inspector was particularly stand out, where some welcome comedy was brought in at some tense moments.
David Woodhead’s set of Margot and Tony’s 1960’s ground floor flat is very important to this play, and it stays the same throughout the performance. Only once are you taken away from the flat, which is a brief cut away moment to Margot in her trial. You really feel like you are at home with the family from the very beginning, as they just go about their lives playing records, drinking alcohol and making phone calls.
Lizzie Powell’s lighting design is really poignant throughout, where it’s used to set the mood of the scene, the time of day and also cleverly used to show the passing of time as we move from one day to the next.
Overall this is a delightful and memorable show, and it’s brilliant to see West End talent visiting local venues! Don’t miss it if it’s coming near you.
Dial M For Murder is at The Lowry from Mon 15 – Sat 20 November tickets available here.