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February 6, 2018 > Dial M For Murder Theatre Review

Dial M For Murder Theatre Review

By Mauricio Segura

What happens when you plan the perfect murder? You cross all the t's, you dot all the i's, and the crime looks flawless... on paper. Unfortunately for the criminal mastermind, as proven in this Chanticleers Theatre production of, ÒDial M For MurderÓ, what looks good on paper, never works out exactly as planned in reality.

The plot of the play centers around former tennis pro Tony Wendice (Danny Martin) who has married his wife Margot (Laura Morgan) for her money. An old flame has reentered MargotÕs life, the American television crime novelist Max Halliday (Mike Ettel) and they have rekindled their relationship, supposedly in secret. However, Tony knows all about the affair and it has been driving him insane for over a year. He devises an elaborate plan to have her killed in their upscale London apartment using the help of his shady old schoolmate, Captain Lesgate (John Vincent Burke). Discarded love letters, switched latch keys, loads of cash, and other clues are then scattered throughout for the audience to ponder and the detective to examine. This is not as much a whodunnit, but more of a Òcan he get away with itÓ type of story.

Dial ÒMÓ was based on a stage play by Frederick Knott, which premiered as a BBC TV special in 1952 and later opened at LondonÕs Westminster Theater, and later Broadway, where it became a world-wide hit. The rights to the play was sold to Warner Brothers Pictures for $75,000 and was picked up in 1954 by Alfred Hitchcock in what became one of his best loved classics. The film starred Grace Kelley and was filmed in 3D, which resulted in camera angles never before and never afterward seen in a Hitchcock film.

Director Katina Letheule brought this adaption to the Chanticleers stage to life wonderfully. From set design to ambient music, to flawless acting, this is a splendidly produced and executed play.

There is nothing that can be given to the cast but praise for their performance. It was flawless, easy to follow, and professional. Some people are led to believe that just because a play is produced in a small venue without a huge budget, performance quality suffers greatly. Chanticleers production of Dial ÒMÓ proves that you can get just as much entertainment from community theatre than a 5,000 seat Broadway stage.

Laura Morgan's portrayal of Margot was charming. Seemingly subtle, but with a stage presence that made the audience instantly attracted to the character.

Danny Martin hit the mark as Tony. A likable guy on the outside, but a real scum when his true colors come through. Martin's spot-on mannerisms further enhanced Tony's evil intentions.

Mike Ettel as Max added well-played chemistry, both positive with Margot, and negative with Tony, that glued the three together into a believable love triangle.

The rest of the cast was equally compelling and did a great job to create a wonderful evening of live theatre.

Head out to Castro Valley and check out a performance of Dial ÒMÓ in the weekends to come. An evening of top notch entertainment and fun is the least that can be said of this production.

Dial M For Murder
Through Feb 25
Friday & Saturday: 8 p.m.
Sunday: 2 p.m.
Chanticleers Theatre
3683 Quail Avenue, Castro Valley
(510) 733-5483
$25 Adults/General Admission
$20 Seniors (60+), Students & Military

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