The story of Dial M for Murder primarily revolves around the loaded relationship between four people and the murder that takes place as a result. This version of Dial M for Murder is not so much a play as it is an intimate theatre experience with the 5 cast members and roughly 10 audience members all in one space as the events of the play take place. The intimacy of the experience was increased as the character (and thus cast members) were decreased to just the characters core to the story. The venue was Preece House in Nerang, a house built in 1948. This venue was perfect for the performance because the design of the house as well as the format of the rooms add to the story and give it more dimension whilst also being era appropriate for the story being told.
The seat I chose was centre of one wall to get a decent view of the experience. The format of the play makes it feel like you are a fly on the wall observing the events of strangers lives. The seat gave me a good view of the actors moving around and the scenery changing. Many of the actors walked close by where I was seated multiple times which added to the experience of the performance.
The concept of the murder is teased in the dialogue multiple times which also establishes the motives and thoughts of the characters as well as sets up some of their roles in anticipation of the later part of the story. When the murder takes place it is loud and realistic sounding. Although I did not see the scene from where I was sitting the sound continued the atmosphere of the experience that had been set up.
The actors are well spoken and the action as well as the dialogue is well paced and easy to follow. The actors presentation of the dialogue also builds the world that the characters inhabit. The dialogue is naturally spoken as if the conversations were those in real life unlike in other performances where dialogue can come off unnatural. Nathan Schulz said that it is not necessary to see everything and with how descriptive the dialogue is I have found this to be completely true. A stand out of the play was Craig A. Kocinski as Inspector Hubbard. This inspector character type requires the right use of tone and confidence to sell the crime investigation portion of the story which Kocinski brilliantly represented.
Director Nathan Schulz previous work is audio heavy, having worked on radio plays. It seems that Nathan wishes to build immersive experiences that are not seen elsewhere. His choice of interesting venue and desire for the audience to experience the play from the point of view of the furniture present in the play support this.
If you didn’t catch this version of Dial M for Murder then I recommend you catch another of Nathan Schulz brilliant theatrical experiences in the future as there is really nothing quite like it.
Review by Edmund Bleakley