Starring Oliver Mellor (Coronation Street), Marcus Hutton (Brookside) and Terri Dwyer (Hollyoaks)
Ex-professional tennis player Tony Wendice plans to murder his socialite wife, Margot, who he suspects of having an affair. He thinks he’s arranged the perfect murder when he blackmails a former college acquaintance to do his dirty work for him – but the carefully orchestrated scheme goes awry and he must use all his cunning to cover up his deceit in one of theatre’s most scintillating battle of wits.
First performed in 1952 on BBC Television then transferring to the London stage, Dial M for Murder was already extremely successful before it received the iconic Alfred Hitchcock, Hollywood treatment.
Set in the sitting room of the Wendice’s Maida Vale flat, we join the story as former lovers Margot and Max Halliday are enduring an awkward reunion before Margot’s husband returns home. The opening scenes are full of self-conscious movements and meaningful pauses. Terri Dwyer in particular, showing in one smouldering, yet gauche moment, the torment and torture her character feels.
Oliver Mellor as the cuckolded husband Tony portrays an understated ‘bad guy’ malice simmering beneath the surface, secretly gloating in his schemes and showing an occasional self-satisfied smirk as his master plan unfolds.
Marcus Hutton excels as the lover Max Halliday; apparently wracked with guilt over his part in his lover’s downfall and determined to see her freed by whatever means. His softer approach to masculinity in true juxtaposition with Wendice’s coldness.
C. A. Swann, Wendice’s old school pal, played by Jolyon Young, is of dubious morals, at first reluctant to assist in the vile scheme, his vices soon betray him.
Naturally there is a Police detective who is smarter than he first appears, re-questioning and re-visiting the scene of the crime until he has his answers. John Hester gives a good humoured performance as the determined detective.
The delightfully old fashioned feel of the play, gives an innocent air, one that is soon shattered with the plots twists and turns. The final scenes are performed in near darkness, increasing the tension and heightening the senses. As the climax of the performance approached the entire audience were sitting up and leaning forward.
Dial M for Murder is another triumph for the Talking Scarlet company, performed at the Buxton Opera House.
- Lady Sky