Review: Dial M for Murder, New Theatre, Cardiff

Guilt, violence, deception, revenge, paranoia and utter cruelty come together to create an incredible thriller in Frederick Knott’s classic Dial M for Murder, currently playing at Cardiff’s New Theatre.

Tom Chambers as Tony Wendice, Diana Vickers as Margot Wendice; Max Halliday as Michael Salami and Christopher Harper as Captain Lesgate & Inspector Hubbard make up an fabulous all-star cast.

Costume Foreshadows Thriller’s Dark Events

Featuring an often-disturbing soundscape with distorted, violent songs; high pitched noises and a bell phone ominously ringing in the dark, Dial M for Murder’s sombre mood gains further prominence from the offset with Margot Wendice clever costume designs connoting death and foreshadowing the thriller’s dark events.

The stage set is built like the sort of home you’d expect in the 1950s with a modern aesthetic and a coat rack drenched in black. Another point is that the shelves are covered in trophies, representing how Margot and Tom appear to have put their past behind them.

Dial M For Murder: “A Very Immersive Experience”

Despite the constant darkness of Dial M For Murder, the presentation succeeds in making the audience laugh often, especially with the introduction of Christopher Harper’s Inspector Hubbard in Act 2.

The play also includes a unique cut to the interval, unlike anything I’ve seen before. The curtain doesn’t fall giving the opportunity to sit in awe and just think about what has happened. This creates a very immersive experience, making the audience feel part of Knott’s thrilling world.

Across the course of Dial M For Murder, each character descends into constant paranoia and madness. Coming up with seemingly stupid ideas on what has happened over the unfolding drama, while never feeling safe. Nobody is to be trusted.  

Tony Wendice’ behaviour is seemingly often childish and although likely designed to be funny, comes off terrifying, like the Porter Scene in Macbeth. Tom Chambers is a joy to watch as he displays Wendice’ change in behaviour across the play with a culmination that is both aggravated and violent, stemming from the characters own fear.

Meanwhile, Harper’s Inspector Hubbard is consistent in being kind and polite to everybody, even when he thinks they might have committed violent murder although Hubbard is at times mocking towards Max Halliday over his trips to New York.

Unmissable and Unforgettable Dial M For Murder

An immersive production, Dial M For Murder is both unmissable and unforgettable, even if like my companion, you wasn’t necessarily a fan of the thriller genre. Miss it at your peril!

  • Dial M For Murder runs at Cardiff’s New Theatre until Saturday November 6. For ticket details contact 0343 310 0041 or the website www.newtheatrecardiff.co.uk

Published by Thomas Howells

The doctor said I should be in hospital for all the blood I was losing, but instead I went to drama practice

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