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Posted by : al_geary on Jul 17, 2017 - 09:29 AM Midlands
Nottingham.

DIAL M FOR MURDER: Frederick Knott.
4Stars****

Nottingham Playhouse.

www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk.
Runs: 2h 30m: one interval: till 15th July.
Performance times: 7.30pm (matinees Weds 2.00pm and Sat 3.00pm),
Review: Alan Geary: 11th July 2017.


Nottingham’s Classic Thriller Season kicks off with one of the greatest ever written.


The Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season is back, but not quite as we know it. Instead of the usual venue, the Theatre Royal, the first two productions are at Nottingham Playhouse, the last at the city’s National Justice Museum.

This week’s Dial M For Murder is a classic Classic Thriller, one of the greatest ever written. A thorough-going wrong’un is trying to get his wife bumped off for her money; question is, will he get away with it?

This could be, but isn’t, played simply for laughs – that strangulated fifties accent isn’t over-done – and acting overall is first-rate. David Osmond, as ex-tennis pro Wendice, although a trifle young for the part, is a believable bad boy; and Anna Mitcham, as intended victim Sheila, is excellent. She’s suitably sweet and deferential in a fifties kind of way, and she looks wonderful in the frocks – period costumes throughout are terrific.

Captain Lesgate, an obvious rotter, is beautifully done by Mark Huckett. What with the moustache and bogus regimental tie, you wouldn’t buy a dead goldfish from him, let alone a used American motor. Turns out that when he was at public school along with Wendice, he nicked twenty quid and got the caretaker sacked for it. But his child-like avarice and blundering incompetence make you feel sorry for him.

Chris Sheridan is a welcome returnee as Sheila’s old flame Max – most self-respecting fifties thrillers have a Max hanging about. This one, conveniently enough, just happens to be a thriller writer. And the splendid John Lyons is back, sleuthing about as Inspector Hubbard. Hubbard isn’t a realistic police detective; they never are in this sort of caper. He’s too posh and too elderly. But he’s much brighter than anyone else in the play. And he has a raincoat but doesn’t wear it indoors.

Raincoats feature a lot in this one, along with latchkeys – they’re never called simply “keys” in period thrillers.

A packed press-night house appreciated the evening, and why not?


Sheila Wendice: Anna Mitcham.
Max Halliday: Chris Sheridan.
Tony Wendice: David Osmond.
Captain Lesgate: Mark Huckett.
Inspector Hubbard: John Lyons.


Director: Karen Henson.
Set Design: Sarah Kordas.
Lighting Design: Michael Donoghue.
Sound Design: David Gilbrook.
Costume: Geoff Gilder.
 
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