Review: Dial M For Murder, Theatre Royal, Glasgow

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Photos by Manuel Harlan

Director Anthony Banks has taken a bold gamble here, by taking the classic Frederick Knott thriller, relocating it from 50s America to 60s London, and bringing a campy approach to the production. Yet it works, after a slightly tentative opening scene establishing the affair between Margot (Sally Bretton) and Max (Michael Salami).

Tom Chambers as slighted husband of Margot, Tony Wendice, is a gleefully conscience-free narcissist, deploying his lithe dancer’s physicality to the character.

Such carefree misogyny is reinforced in the scenes with Captain Lesgate (Christopher Harper) as he cooks up a blackmail plot to get back at Lesgate and kill his wife, all of which backfires in spectacular style.

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Lizzie Powell’s lighting, particularly when using strobes, brings much needed chills to the production: a real sense of menace as Tony’s true character emerges. David Woodhead’s set oozes swinging sixties affluence, but some of his costumes for Max  seem more seventies than sixties- the only jarring factor here.

Sally Bretton is dignified and elegant throughout, portraying trauma and confusion beautifully in the second half. It’s a superb Christopher Harper, though, who is triumphant as the idiosyncratic Inspector Hubbard, a real quirky  Northern contrast to his swaggering Lesgate with curling London vowels. His performance is outstanding.

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Such light and shade is at the heart of this frenetic, irreverent and compelling piece. It’s all about the contrasts. That old reactionary Alfred Hitchcock  wouldn’t have approved, I suspect, which is all to the good.

At Theatre Royal Glasgow until Saturday 7th March,2020. Touring across the UK.

http://www.atg.co.uk

http://www.dialmformurderplay.com

 

 

 

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