The Arts Club Theatre Company

Dial M for Murder
by Frederick Knott

Venue: The Stanley Theatre
Dates: 8 May - 15 June 2003

Reviewer: Jane Penistan




Director: Bill Millerd
Set designer: Ted Roberts
Lighting: Marsha Sibthorpe
Costume design: Alison Green
Stage manager Louis-Marie Bournival




Margot (Melissa Poll) and Captain Lesgate (Adam Henderson) in the Arts Club Theatre Company's production of Dial M for Murder.Photo by Andrée LanthierThis very well constructed play keeps the audience guessing about the outcome of the perfectly planned murder. Will the perpetrator of the crime get away with murder? Or is the investigating police inspector cleverer than the wily money-seeking killer is?

Bill Millerd has directed this thriller with well timed pacing and a leading man who really does lead. Allan Gray's first entry as Tony Wendice starts the excitement early in the first act when he interrupts a rather slow love scene between his wife Margot Wendice (Melissa Poll) and Max Halliday (Peter Jorgensen).

Tony's superficial charm soon melts away to display his true nature when he threatens his visitor, the mysterious Captain Lesgate (Adam Henderson), with exposure of his several past titles.





This is where the perfect murder is planned with full attention to timing and detail. But the "best laid schemes ...gang aft agley" and so does this one. A little suspension of disbelief is needed to accept the actual killing, but this is the fault of the writing, not the actors.

Set in the London of the 1950s, the scenery is hardly typical of that time. Apart from the one woman's dresses, which are absolutely right, the clothes are distinctly North American any time in the last fifty odd years.

Some of the noises off need a little attention but the lighting is well managed and suspense enhancing. Allan Gray's performance and that of Bernard Cuffling as Inspector Hubbard really make this well written play an evening's enjoyable entertainment: "A provocative prescription for a suspenseful summer."

© 2003, Jane Penistan