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Dial M For Murder

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Having successfully delivered Dial M For Murder five years ago, director Lucy Bailey, widely acclaimed for her West End directing credit of The Postman Always Rings Twice, skilfully breathes new life into this suspenseful story, one of Frederick Knott’s most celebrated.

Adding to an atmosphere of malevolence, ominous low-level lighting effectively casts disturbing shadows on Mike Britton’s vivid scarlet 1950’s Maida Vale lounge setting. Rotating at snail-like pace during crucial segments, it brings a cinematic element to the production, while sound designer Mic Pool builds suspense with an edgy Miles Davis-type jazz soundtrack.

Giving the cold and calculated Tony Wendice a horrid yet enthralling air of power, Daniel Betts is splendidly sinister. Party to Tony’s vengeful thought processes and actions, once Christopher Timothy’s composed Inspector Hubbard has finished grilling the scheming husband, you half expect to be interrogated too.

Like watching the finest chess grandmaster at work, usually several moves ahead, Timothy’s mild mannered portrayal appears effortless.

Filling shoes Grace Kelly donned 60 years ago in Hitchcock’s screen adaptation, Kelly Hotten’s amplified bloodcurdling struggle with Robert Perkins’ Captain Lesgate, so prolonged, disturbing and traumatic, leaves you as breathless as Sheila Wendice herself.

This gripping tale of passion, betrayal and murder kicks off the Made in Colchester 2014 season in style ahead of a major UK Tour.

Nick Dines

  • Mercury Theatre, Colchester
  • February 10-15, then touring until June 28
  • Author: Frederick Knott
  • Director: Lucy Bailey
  • Producers: Fiery Angel, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Colchester Mercury Theatre
  • Cast: Daniel Betts, Philip Cairns, Kelly Hotten, Robert Perkins, Christopher Timothy
  • Running time: 2hrs 15mins

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Verdict
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