DIAL M FOR MURDER
Nottingham Theatre Royal
This is one stylish thriller which isn't so much a murder mystery, as we all know who was murdered and by whom and why, but the enjoyment from this play comes from the unravelling of the plot by Inspector Hubbard, played by "All Creatures Great and Small" actor, Christopher Timothy, who is an actor I found very easy to watch. I felt comfortable watching his portrayal of the Inspector, which may seem a strange thing to say, but you see so many actors we know from TV who maybe you're a little unsure of within their role, but not Mr Timothy. You immediately have confidence that his character will get to the bottom of the murder and that can only be played out by an actor with who you believe in within character.
In short, Sheila and Max have met up after Max has been in New York for a year, and we discover that they have just come out of an affair with each other which Sheila's husband, Tony, is actually aware of after blackmailing Sheila over a love letter sent from Max, which neither Max or Sheila are aware of tony's involvement.
Tony then plans an elaborate murder plot to have his wife killed while he and Max are on a night out, but after blackmailing his old school friend, Captain Lesgate, to commit the murder, things don't quite go as planned and it's Lesgate who ends up in the bodybag and Sheila is sent to prison with the death penalty hanging over her. All is working out just fine for Tony but Max throws a spanner in the works which leads to the unravelling of the attempted plot by Inspector Hubbard and Max.
The stage is bathed in red to make you visually aware of the bloody murder and with a slowly revolving stage, we are able to view the murder scene from all angles. Sparse props wise but visually very evocative.
It's really intense at times and the tension created by Hitchcock's film transcends wonderfully to the stage, a testament to the director Lucy Bailey. The attempted murder scene is also quite graphic and well acted by Kelly Hotten and Robert Perkins as Sheila and Lesgate. Brilliantly choreographed by the fight director, Phillip d'Orleans.
Apart from Christopher Timothy, the other four actors are more well known for their stage work but work so well together, making for an immediately believable group of characters, it's almost like eavesdropping.
"Dial M" is a wonderful thriller that has certainly stood the test of time and is well worth a viewing for all fans of theatre and excellent thrillers.
"Dial M For Murder" is on until Saturday 27 April 2014.