Dial M for Murder

A compelling love triangle, a murder and a clever detective make for a fun evening at Stage Door’s “Dial M for Murder.” The show runs through Oct. 15.

Alfred Hitchcock filmed Frederick Knott’s play “Dial M for Murder” as part of the 1950’s 3D movie craze. Ironic, isn’t it? Theater is already the ultimate three-dimensional story presentation.

Stage Door proves that by bringing the entertaining “Dial M” back to its roots—well, sort of. Actually, Knott wrote the play for British television. Then it went to the stage, with good results. In 1954, the Master of Suspense filmed it with Ray Milland, Grace Kelly and Robert Cummings.

Whatever the medium, it’s a piece that doesn’t lose its punch. Stage Door’s sold out audience savored every line, latched onto every clue, and chortled with the script’s well-crafted zingers. The Players are killing it!

Not that this is a murder mystery as such. We know early on that Tony Wendice wants to kill his wife, and we know it’s for the usual reasons. He has married her for the money, and he’s jealous over an affair on her part that came to light. The play concerns itself with the process of committing the “perfect murder.” Is it possible?

Max Halliday, who happens to write murder mysteries for a living, doesn’t think so. He’s also carrying a torch for Margot Wendice, the lady who just may be in distress. Tony, Max and Margot make a compelling love triangle—Tony the suave, attractive Brit who secretly seethes; Max, the American writer who can’t walk away; and Margot, the object of their affection.

The attack scene, so memorable from the film, is staged with a brilliance that actually improves on Hitchcock, for our money. Lighting and a brilliant set are maximized. But then, theater is the original 3D experience.

Stage Door regulars know Robert Egizio as the theater’s excellent Producing Artistic Director. But, in this production he also treats audiences to his amazing acting abilities in the role of Tony. Egizio’s portrayal is cool and calculating while being completely charming and witty.

Kristin Markiton, a newcomer to Stage Door, is perfect as Margot, our intended murder victim. This role calls for some wide swings in emotions, and Markiton handled them with ease while steering clear of histrionics.

Returning to Stage Door to tackle the role of Max, is Chad Martin, who delivers a fine, sympathetic performance. Also returning to Stage Door are Charles Green as Captain Lesgate, the makeshift hitman, Doyle Reynolds as Inspector Hubbard, the police detective who knows more than he lets on, and Davin Allen Grindstaff as Thompson.

“Dial M for Murder” is directed by Kate MacQueen with additional technical assistance provided by Chuck Welcome (Set Design/Scenic Artist), J.D. Williams (Lighting Design), Jim Alford (Costume Design), Kathy Ellsworth (Properties Design), Rial Ellsworth (Sound Design), George Deavours (Wig Design), and Bill Byrne (Stage Manager).

Performances continue through Oct. 15 at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and at 2:30 p.m. on Sundays. There is one additional performance at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 12. Tickets are $33 for adults, $30 for senior adults, $22 for students, and $15 for youth under 12 years.

Tickets are available by contacting the Box Office at (770) 396-1726. Stage Door Players is located in the North DeKalb Cultural Arts Center at 5339 Chamblee-Dunwoody Road, Dunwoody and on the Web at stagedoorplayers.net.

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