Suspense Runs the Show in Falcon Theatre’s Dial M For Murder
Posted On June 26, 2017
Review by Alan Jozwiak of Dial M For Murder: Falcon Theatre
The fate of a woman’s life rests on the location of a latch key.
This crucial plot point comes from Falcon Theatre‘s latest offering Dial M for Murder. While this script dates from the early 1950s, there is more than enough suspense to satisfy modern audiences. The play is set in London and revolves around former tennis player Tony Wendis (Phineas Clark) plotting to kill his heiress wife Margot (Annie Grove), who has been having an on-again off-again affair with the American television crime writer Mark Halliday (Carter Bratton).
Director Bed Raanan captures the spirit of this bygone time, where voices are seldom raised (unless to make a toast with brandy) and passions lie smoldering underneath the civility displayed by each character. Raanan is able to get subtle nuances out of his characters, making them three-dimensional and believable. For a drawing room play with little direct action, Raanan keeps what action is shown by building on events in a way that keeps audiences on the edge of their seats.
Kudos to Phineas Clark, who plays the part of Tony. Clark plays the perfect dapper gentleman whose psychopathic tendencies get hidden under his charming demeanor. This role could easily come off as a caricature, but Clark is believable as Tony. The audience gets a sense of the man through the different roles Tony plays as a jilted lover, conniving murderer, “loving” husband, and concerned citizen wanting to help the police any way that he can.
Clark is matched by the strong performances given by Annie Grove (Margot) and Carter Bratton (Max) as the romantically-interested pair. Grove shows a full range of emotion, from delight to hysteria to desperation. Bratton also plays a strong role as her love interest, alternating between love and despair.
Also providing a stand-out performance was Derek Snow as Inspector Hubbard. Snow played the Inspector with a reserved detachment, coupled with a driving enthusiasm to get to the bottom of the case. At times insistent and probing, Snow plays Inspector Hubbard perfectly with the right amount of subtlety and dedication. It was a delight to see Snow’s Inspector grill Tony and the other characters.
My only complaint with this show came with the costuming for Tony. For a man who is supposed to be so dapper and well-dressed, it was odd that Clark’s suit coat did not properly fit him at the start of the show and that he was wearing an ill-fitting cravat at the end of the play. The character of Tony seems to be one of sartorial elegance, so I hope these minor things get corrected by the end of the run of the show.
In closing, if you want a suspenseful good time, then Falcon Theatre’s Dial M for Murder is your ticket. Dial M for Murder runs from weekends from November 4-19, 2016. For ticket information, go to www.falcontheatre.net.