Dial M for Murder

The Hitchcock classic Comes to Life at The Old Globe

(from left) John Tufts as Inspector Hubbard, Ruibo Qian as Maxine Hadley, Kate Abbruzzese as Margot Wendice, and Nathan Darrow as Tony Wendice
in Dial M for Murder. Photo by Jim Cox.
Dial M for Murder is the 1954 crime thriller by Frederick Knott and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Truly, whenever this man's name is in something, there should be a sort of giddiness especially when seeing it live and in living color. Adaptations can go different ways and not do justice to the original. In this case with the theatre adaptation that was commissioned by The Globe and a world premiere, adapted for the stage by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Stafford Arima, it worked pretty well. 

Tony (Nathan Darrow) stole a letter from his wife Margot (Kate Abbruzzese) that is actually a farewell to her lover Maxine (Ruibo Qian) who coincidentally, writes murder mysteries and Tony is her press agent. Tony in his jealousy but mostly greed, devises a plan to get rid of Margot and inquires about the services of Lesgate (Ruy Iskandar), an old-school acquaintance. The tangle gets tighter and between a missed alibi, blackmail, and a change of heart, Inspector Hubbard (John Tufts) has to put in the overtime. The piece is mysterious and thrilling, having it in the round and so close, goose bumps come and go. Anna Louizos scenic design of a 1950's British home with the cigarettes, the dial phone, and desk, ah! what a breath of nostalgia. And I wasn't even alive in the fifties! lol It is just so well done that it teletransports you there. Ryan Park's costume design with the long coats, the gloves, and the clutches is impeccable with Amanda Zieve's lighting design emphasizing each key scene beautifully. There are not that many plays set in the 50s currently so to catch one that is well rounded and aesthetically pleasing is a win.

Nathan Darrow as Tony Wendice and Ruy Iskandar as Lesgate in Dial M for Murder. Photo by Jim Cox.

The cast is great and harmonious which can be tricky when working on a piece that is so precise. Nathan Darrow is vicious and shameless as Tony. Not one hair moves as he concocts his no-good deeds. Ruibo Qian shows the audience different sides to Maxine: the author who's working with her former lover's husband, the former lover, and the expert in murder mysteries with this air of distress, it is a truly great performance. The role of Margot got on my nerves at times but it was the role, not actress Kate Abbruzzese who looks stunning in all the wardrobe changes, her voice, and perfect modulation make up for Margot who gets on the stubborn side...Also, Abbruzzese has a fight scene that is done very realistically yet does not lose the theatricality. Faboulous work by her, Ruy Iskandar, and Rachel Lee Flesher who is responsible for fight direction and intimacy staging. Iskandar as the hired hitman Lesgate is stoic and tender at the same time, can that be? loved his character and the pipe smoking, great, great!

John Tufts won me over in The Taming of the Shrew. He definitely did not disappoint as Inspector Hubbard, with great acting. 

Dial M for Murder is good, fun, entertaining theatre well worth the trip.

Last performances are this week until August 28, matinees get tricky in Balboa Park with all the events and parking is SSSPAARCE. I advise going on a weekday or evening show during the weekend where it is less busy.

For information on ticket prices and performance times please click here

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