16 January 2020

Dial M for Murder at Richmond Theatre was thrilling entertainment

I see almost all of the drama that come to Richmond Theatre because, generally, touring companies know what they have to do to entertain an audience and they have slick productions. Dial M for Murder was a case in point.

My usual seat had been taken so I went for the equivalent one on the other side of the theatre, Dress Circle A2 for £31.5. The ones at the side are cheaper than the premiere seats and while A1 has a visual obstruction A2 is perfectly fine.

The entire play took place in this one room and had a cast of just five. Ironically one actor played two roles, the victim and the policeman trying to solve the crime.

We can see all what happens in the room so we quickly know who the baddies are and what set the events we witness in motion. Events do not go quite to plan and, as the title suggests, there is a murder to solve. Trying to solve it is an astute policeman with something of Columbo about him.

There are many tense moments as explanations are sought, stories are invented and accusations fly. There is an outcome the audience is waiting for but it is not at all clear that the outcome is possible and even less clear how it could become so. The tension builds over two very satisfying hours until a firm outcome is reached and the lights fall.

The style of it reminded me of Line of Duty where one long interview can make a dramatic end to a season.

Dial M for Murder did exactly what I wanted a thriller to do.

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