The Stage Door Theatre opened its production of Dial ‘M’ for Murder on October 30, 2015.
Deception, murder, and passion complicate Frederick Knott’s darkly brilliant tale of jealousy and greed. Motivated by his wife Margot’s large fortune and a previous infidelity, Tony Wendice decides it’s high time to murder her. In need of an alibi, he blackmails an old friend into doing the dirty work for him. His plans, of course, go awry when his friend winds up dead and Margot is arrested for murder. With twists galore, DIAL “M” FOR MURDER remains one of the most clever and shocking plays of any genre.
Arthur Whitelaw and Derelle Bunn directed a cast that included Jason Plourde, Gladys Ramirez, Roy Lynam, Sean Dorazio, and Larry Kent Bramble.
Bill Hirschman reviewed for Florida Theater On Stage:
No one does a poor job in any department, but neither does this production fulfill this warhorse’s time-tested potential. Maybe the piece has just outlived itself: The Maltz Jupiter Theatre’s well-heeled production in 2013 with top-notch personnel similarly failed to electrify the auditorium.
Directors Arthur Whitelaw and Derelle Bunn keep the plot moving forward, but their competent actors lack the extra charismatic oomph that Hitchcock had in Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings. The attempted murder, which is a chilling highlight of the film, lasts all of about three seconds here.
Plourde has a weird smile that indicates Wendice’s relishing of his long aborning plot coming together. He also has some of Wendice’s blend of false charm and lack of conscience, but not enough to make the audience’s blood chill at a curdled soul. Lynam is handsome and pleasant but also is missing any credibility; he’s saying lines. Bramble is reliably avuncular and incisive.
Ramirez has been gaining plaudits over the years for work ranging from the girlfriend in GableStage’s The MotherF**er with the Hat to multiple roles in various Summer Gone Wild outings to Alliance Theatre Lab projects. But her heroine here is just a dishrag with an annoying brittle British accent. No backbone, no personality specific to the character. Again, she’s not bad, just adequate.
Rod Stafford Hagwood wrote for The Sun-Sentinel:
"Dial M for Murder" is often confused with "Sorry, Wrong Number" and "Midnight Lace." That's a shame because Frederick Knott's cat-and-mouse thriller… is solid and tingly in its own right.
With Stage Door Theatre's production, you get how good the script is, even when some of the cast isn't always up to the job. It's not that they are terrible. They are most certainly not. It's just that this production seems like one of those frustrating long-distance calls, where the voice keeps dropping out or gets muffled… This production comes off okay-ish, the tone elusive-ish, the take-away thrill-ish.
The Stage Door Theatre production of Dial ‘M’ for Murder plays through December 6, 2015
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