“Dial M for Murder” by Frederick Knott, this weekend’s Panhandle Players’ fare at the Chapman Auditorium, is a three-act play that isn’t about a murder at all.
Oh yes, there is a death and there are characters capable of inspiring murder, but the story is more complex than that. It’s about desperation and love and how easy it is to get lost in a self-centered life.
Tony Wendice (Scott Wilson) has fallen far from the glamorous life at the top of the professional tennis circuit and desperately wants to hang on to the carefree playboy life that once afforded him. He’s married to Margot (Megan Lamb), a wealthy star-struck fan, with hopes her money will keep him in the style to which he has become accustomed.
Margot has more traditional ideas and desires. She wants a loyal husband who appreciates her rather than just her money. An ex-boyfriend, Max Halliday (Bob Inguagiato), senses potential discomfort in the marriage and re-enters her life in hopes of renewing their relationship. Tony, ever scheming ways to grab her money for himself, spies on them and hatches what seems a foolproof plot, via Capt. Lesgate (Royce Rolstad), to get rid of Margot and keep her money.
Enter persistent and intelligent Inspector Hubbard (Hank Kozlowsky) who knows there is no “perfect murder.” The game is on, thanks to the work of director David Steadman, stage manager Jeana Crozier, and set designers Mark and Natalie Parsley, who bring to life the classic that famed director Alfred Hitchcock, and stars Ray Milland and Grace Kelly, brought to the silver screen.