Dial M For Murder is a stage play written by English playwright Frederick Knott. In 1954, Warner Bros. Studio produced the film based on Knott’s stage play and directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starred Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings.
I saw the film when it played in theaters those many years ago and was anxious to see it performed live on stage. I wondered if it would be as interesting and credible in a small theater. Presented by the Group Rep at the Lonny Chapman Theatre in North Hollywood, it proved to be worthy of acclaim for a production extremely well-done.
The play is presented in three acts all set in the living room of the Wendice’s apartment in London in 1954 (an outstanding set by J. Kent Inasy). Tony Wendice (Adam Jonas Segaller) was once a tennis star who is married to Margot (Carrie Schroeder), a woman of wealth. Their outward appearance does not show their animosity towards one another, though Margot has been having an affair with, seemingly, a family friend, an American Max Halliday (Justin Waggle), and Tony, who is aware of her infidelity, is merely interested in her money.
Since Tony loves money, but not his wife, he decides his life would be better off with her money but without her. Therefore, he goes about developing a fool-proof plan to have her murdered whereby he will end up with her fortune. But nothing, it seems, is ever really fool-proof, and his plan backfires when, in self-defense, Margot struggles with the intended murderer, Captain Lesgate (Michael Robb), and kills him.
It appears that the villain in the play will end up as he wished after all when Margot is arrested, put on trial, and sentenced to death for the murder of Captain Lesgate. But once again, the situation takes a turn as Inspector Hubbard (Doug Haverty) unravels another new surprise.
The entire cast, which includes Hisato Masuyama-Ball as Thompson, deserves kudos for their fine and flawless performances. They can all be seen Fridays and Saturdays at 8 PM, Sundays at 2 PM, through August 13, at the Lonny Chapman Theatre, 10900 Burbank Blvd., North Hollywood. Tickets are available online at www.thegrouprep.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Reservations may be made by calling (818) 763-5990.