DramaNorth East & YorkshireReview

Dial M for Murder – Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield

Reviewer: Jacob Bush

Writer: Frederick Knott

Director: Anthony Banks

Dial M for Murder, which was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s film version, is back on tour after being halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. It may worth noting that this reviewer had not seen film going into this production but the play by Frederick Knott is certainly not the most thrilling crime drama of all time. Unlike some other plays, this one does not keep you guessing what the outcome will be. The one major twist is well executed though and does tend to take one by surprise.

Anthony Banks’ direction feels confused at times. For the most part, the play is done completely naturalistically but there are some more abstract transitions between scenes that felt somewhat jarring. Ben and Max Ringham’s sound design and composition are good and add suspense but often it feels too quiet, meaning you’re not quite sure if you really are hearing underscoring. David Woodhead’s set and costume design is fine, although at times the era that the piece is set in is not entirely clear.

Despite the play not necessarily being the most gripping in terms of its storytelling, it does have a star-studded cast who do a fantastic job. Tom Chambers leads the cast as Tony Wendice, alongside Diana Vickers as his wife Margot. Chambers is terrific with the perfect level of intensity. His on-stage chemistry with Vickers is great and he portrays the complexity of the relationship very well. Vickers particularly shines in the more emotionally charged scenes. Her portrayal of the character is believable and she captures the vulnerability beautifully.

Completing the cast are Michael Salami as Max Halliday and Christopher Harper who plays both Captain Lesgate and Inspector Hubbard. Salami is brilliant and has a fantastic chemistry with Vickers. He brings a huge amount of the energy to the piece which is certainly needed. Harper is the highlight of the show for me. His characterisation of both roles is outstanding with great comic timing, which is certainly needed in a play that could otherwise be very heavy and dark.

Dial M for Murder is enjoyable for the most part and performed by a strong cast. The characters could do with further development though, as it often felt like back stories were introduced but never fully explored. It is certainly a good night at the theatre though and a great opportunity to see excellent West End talent in regional theatres.

Runs until 23rd October 2021

 

The Reviews Hub Score

Enjoyable, not thrilling

The Reviews Hub - Yorkshire & North East

The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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2 Comments

  1. Went to see this tonight and it was the first time at the theatre for over 2 years. What a disappointment. The acting was over this top, amateurish and none of the characters were believable. I thought the set design , for a Mayfair flat, was shabby. The music didn’t seem to blend with the story and seem confused. We left after the first half. I do understand that sometimes we can put our own slant on things but this would be best left alone.

  2. Agree with the comments from Irene.

    Dial M for Murder well the certainty killed the play.

    Tosh!!!

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