In 1951, the BBC picked up the script for Dial M For Murder from a very determined Frederick Knott to then broadcast it on television a year later.
After a positive reception from the public the TV show then moved to the stage. It flourished into a triumphant piece of theatre. Even the horror pioneer himself Alfred Hitchcock made a film out of it starring Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings. The New Vic Theatre are presenting their own production of the famous play. With such an established theatre taking on Dial M For Murder there were no doubts in my mind that this would be brilliant.
The small yet talented cast consists of Nicola Barlett as Sheila, Daniel Easton as Max, her love affair, William Ellis as Sheila’s evil plotting husband Tony, Rob Heanley as the blackmailed Lesgate and Paul Brendan as police officer Hubbard. Brendan has the most experience in theatre with his time working with Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory. Ellis has proven his worth significantly in roles for both theatre and television. Bartlett has the least experience which will add to the determination to prove a point tonight in such a big role. Easton and Heanley both offer amazing experience to this production.
Dial M For Murder did take a while to get up off its feet and let the action begin. However, this does give us relevant information about what happens later in the plot. The acting becomes swift and nail biting as the plot progresses. Its hard to not take your eyes off the stage as there is one thing happening after another at such an exciting pace. William Ellis as Tony is magnificent casting decision as you will love to hate the character. When Hubbard is brought into the play the excitement doesn’t stop and makes the second act more frantic.
The set is a basic one with a sofa, two chairs and a few other bits and bobs to fill a ’50s living room flat. The lighting effects were brilliant, especially with the opening of the doors and the lamps switching on. The BBC broadcasts during the set changes were a great asset too especially in the second act, but if you haven’t seen this play before then I wont spoil it. The costumes were pretty much spot on, but it was mainly coats and keys for the guys. Nicole Bartlett fit the timeline perfectly with her dresses and also her hair style.
The New Vic Theatre have done a cracking job on their production of Dial M For Murder. Besides the steady start, the suspense keeps your eyes locked onto the action and you’ll never look away as everything starts to unravel. The whole team behind this production seemed to have hit every aspect on the nail. This crime solving gem has an incredible cast, but there’s something about Ellis’ take on Tony that just made this even more engrossing. The whodunnit theme is perfectly executed and for those who love that type of theatre I recommend going to see Dial M For Murder.
You can still catch Dial M For Murder during its run at the New Vic Theatre. Go on, grab yourself a ticket here.