By Kathy Carpenter
The Old Globe Theatre Presents – “Dial M for Murder.” This is first rate, storytelling, compelling and funny. It is written by Frederick Knott, Adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, and Directed by Stafford Arima. It is remembered best as the 1954 Hitchcock film starring, Grace Kelly, Ray Milland, and Robert Cummings. The movie started as a play. “Dial M for Murder”, has come a long ways and has been modernized by the Old Globe for today’s audience.
Arima, brought elegance and charm to the production. The set, costumes, and lighting complete the tone. Although you know the plot of the crime, you can never quite relax. Your mind is whirling trying to figure out, what next? The tension is broken up every now and then with a refreshing one liner. The actors handle the moments smoothly. Every good suspense needs a laugh so we can breathe.
In this version, set in the Wendice living room in London, writer turned PR director, Tony Wendice finds out his wife is cheating, with a woman. He begins to plot his wife’s murder. One year later his plan is set into motion. The details are chilling as he sets them out to Lesgate, the would be murderer. Things do not go as expected but everything works out for Wendice or does it? The play uses a surprising plot element to end the show perfectly.
Kate Abbruzzese, plays Margo Wendice, the wife. She is exquisite, charming and elegant, definitely Grace Kelly-like, yet updated, more spirited, a tremendous actress. Nathan Darrow is the cunning Tony Wendice, arrogant and manipulative, driving the plot masterfully. Lesgate, is played by Ruy Iskandar. He is the would be murderer. Not such a rosy character himself, he falls prey to Tony. Maxine Hadley, the lover, is played by Ruibo Qian. The opposite of Margo, she developed strong feelings, a pivotable character who never loses her way. To round out the cast we have John Tufts as Inspector Hubbard, with a strong performance. This is a modernized classic done with flare and brilliance.
The play is performed in the round where all seas are great. This is unusual for suspense because there is no where to hide. The audience sees everything.
One aspect I personally did not care for, the overhead sound and flashing stage lights. This effect didn’t work for me. Everything else perfect.
A must see suspense.
Dial Me For Murder
July 21 – August 28, 2022
Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre
Running Time 2 hours and 10 minutes
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