Dial M for Murder arrived at Milton Keynes Theatre on Tuesday night for its one-week run... but does it deserve to make a killing at the box office or be slaughtered by audiences instead?
Made famous by Alfred Hitchcock’s world-renowned film of 1954, Dial M for Murder's action all takes place in the London flat of Tony and Margot Wendice - played by Tom Chambers (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) and Diana Vickers (West End star and former The X Factor finalist).
When ex-tennis player Tony discovers his wife has cheated on him, he starts plotting his revenge and the 'perfect crime'... but will he get away with it?
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There's sizzling on-stage chemistry between vulnerable Margot and her lover Max Halliday (Michael Salami), who were both excellent, and that gives credibility to husband Tony being pushed to such extreme measures.
He blackmails his old school friend Captain Lesgate (Christopher Harper) into entering their flat one night to strangle Margot. Meanwhile, he goes on a night out with his wife's lover, hence creating his alibi.
The audience know the truth, so Dial M for Murder isn't a whodunnit where we're trying to work out the guilty party, rather it's a play full of twists and turns as Tony tries to keep one step ahead of the police and inherit his wife's fortune. "Anything I want, I usually get it," Tony declares, but is it time for his luck to run out?
It all starts to unravel for him towards the end of Act 1 when Margot manages to kill her attacker in self defence. And while the first Act focused on setting the scene leading up the Lesgate's demise, the suspense was really ramped up in Act 2 as we are left to wonder if Tony can cover his tracks and trick the police into thinking Margot killed Lesgate because she was being blackmailed by him over the affair.
Tom Chambers was fantastic as the manipulative Tony Wendice, especially on the numerous times when he was delivering his lines through clenched teeth as things weren't quite going to plan. One example being after his wife had killed Lesgate with a pair of scissor and the investigating cop declared how it had been lucky they had been left on the side, with Tony agreeing it had been "VERY" lucky.
Christopher Harper was reincarnated after being stabbed to death to play a fantastic second role - that of the intriguing Inspector Hubbard. While he was meticulous in his work as he tried to get to the truth, he was also eccentric, sarcastic, and even aggressive at times too.
These moments of subtle comic timing from the Inspector and Tony gave the play that something extra to lift the dark subject matter.
If you enjoy thrillers, then it'll be a fatal mistake not to see Dial M for Murder at Milton Keynes Theatre before its run comes to a close on Saturday night (October 30). For more details see https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/dial-m-for-murder/milton-keynes-theatre