A suspense murder thriller written in the ’50s is coming to a stage near you at the end of the month.
On Jan. 31, “Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott will open at the Richmond Community Theatre on East Washington Street in downtown Rockingham.
Theatre Director Shelly Walker said the play is set in Britain, but the actors won’t be using British accents since there is much work to be done on the acting.
The play focuses on a well-off couple. Walker explained that the husband Tony is a tennis star who married wife Margo for money. Margo winds up with an American boyfriend but soon breaks off the affair, but not soon enough. Tony gets jealous of the boyfriend, who is a murder mystery writer, and plots Margo’s murder. However, Margo murders the murderer and gets framed. The audience watches the train-wreck while Margo awaits her fate; will she be saved or will she be hanged?
“It was made into a famous Hitchcock movie which is similar to the play,” said Walker. “Some of our scenes will be rearranged, though.”
Walker said this play has a large cast, because extra people have been cast in the place of one character which is scripted for many small roles.
“We have 10 people in the cast, for more community involvement,” said Walker.
The cast isn’t yet set in stone, and this play will require more behind the scenes people than some other plays have. While there are more lighting cues, there will also be more real effects, such as a telephone that really rings, and a real doorbell.
“Since the play is called ‘Dial M for Murder’ there is going to be lots of telephone ringing and doorbells ringing,” said Walker.
Walker said she knows this is a play many will be familiar with, but that won’t ruin the suspense. Riddled with dramatic irony, the audience looks on as the characters go forward without knowing what will happen.
“It’s not about the element of surprise,” said Walker. “It’s a thriller because the characters don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s like watching a train wreck in slow motion.”
The play will open Jan. 31, and will play that Thursday through Saturday at 8 p.m., and on Sunday at 2 p.m., then again the following Thursday through Saturday. Ticket prices are $10, which is up $1 from last year.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.