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Dial M For Murder at Malvern Theatres

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Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
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Tom Chambers and Diana Vickers star in thriller
There's a quirkiness to this suspenseful drama, most famous as a slick Alfred Hitchcock movie about trying to commit the perfect murder.

Dial m for murder, tour, Tom Chambers, Diane vickers
Tom Chambers and Diana Vickers


Dial M For Murder is not so much a who-dunnit as a will-he-get-away-with-it and I was along for the ride at Malvern Theatres, where it stays for the week until Saturday December 4.

Taking the lead as the vengeful husband planning his unfaithful wife's death is Tom Chambers. He's played the role of Tony Wendice for a while on tour and you can tell.

There's a confidence about him on stage that carries off quirky dapper traits more associated with the 1950s, when this uber stylised production is set.

Dial m for murder, tour, Tom Chambers, Diane vickers
Tom Chambers and Christopher Harper shine on stage


Chambers used his star turn on Strictly Come Dancing to catapult his career, particularly on stage, and he's picked his roles well. While this part doesn't have as much dancing or charm needed as his acclaimed performance in Top Hat, it gives him the freedom to dabble as 'a baddie', something Chambers seems to relish.

The scene is set in a chic retro apartment that will give you furniture envy and where the quick pace allows the backstory to easily be understood through conversations between wife Margot Wendice, her secret lover Max Halliday and her seemingly naive husband Tony.

Straight away it sets itself apart from Hitchcock's classic film as Diana Vickers' Margot is in the middle of a steamy affair rather than the innocent Grace Kelly of the film, whose husband is jealous of her friendship with another man but mostly wants her money.

Dial m for murder, tour, Tom Chambers, Diane vickers
Diana Vickers seems out of kilter


Tony is still motivated by cash but you get the feeling the affair has hurt his pride too and, behind his stiff upper lip and fake smile he's plotting a way to bump off the wife while making sure he has an alibi. But can it really be that easy?

Chambers has strong support from Christopher Harper, who is so good at playing both the police inspector and the man Tony enlists to help with his crime that you don't even realise he is playing two roles. Michael Salami as lover Max is very natural on stage too.

The weakest link is Diana Vickers of X Factor fame. She's done many stage roles but doesn't seem realistic in this performance. There's a lack of chemistry and emotional detachment with her co-stars. Plus she doesn't seem to give Margot the depth to have remorse over her unfaithfulness or predicament.

Dial m for murder, tour, Tom Chambers, Diane vickers
Michael Salami is lover Max Halliday


I found myself at times vying more for the murderer than her as the intended victim.

What this production does do well is delivering a well-choreographed, slick story with twists, turns and - in the vein of Hitchcock - plenty of suspense. The finale is a great piece of theatre.

Overall, Dial M For Murder is a very watchable, enjoyable thriller.

Rating: 3 out of 5
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Why? See enjoyable stage version of thriller Dial M for Murder
When: Until Sat December 4, 2021
Phone: 01684 892277
Where: Malvern Theatres, Grange Road, Malvern and Birmingham Hippodrome, Hurst Street, Birmingham
Cost: From 21.28
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