I’m consistently surprised by the amount of people who tell me they didn’t know there was so much theatre in the Los Angeles area. My theory is they just aren’t looking hard enough or don’t know where to look. With Goldstar, Living Social, and Groupon readily accessible, I find it incredibly easy to discover new theaters around me like the Lonny Chapman Theatre.
This was my first show at the Lonny Chapman and I was impressed by the production value. I have to start with the set. When my best friend sent a snap to our friend of where we were he thought we were at a retired TV set, it’s that convincing. The 1950s home really draws you in with its simplicity. There’s not too much and not too little but every little detail informs the characters as well as the plot as you wonder what will be the next key piece of the puzzle.
I have to confess I have not seen the Hitchcock film adaptation so I had no idea what I was walking into. While it’s clear who the murderer is quite early on the mystery comes from wondering how everything will go wrong. If you watch enough mysteries you catch on that any time someone lays out exactly what their plan is, something will ruin it. Thus the central question emerges — is there a perfect crime?
The story moves at a slow pace made more noticeable by the lengthy scene changes, but is by no means a drag. Credit has to go to this small cast for their energy and charm, anchored by Adam Jonas Segaller as the scheming husband, Tony Wendice. Tony’s character is not nearly as a clever as he believes himself to be but you almost believe he’ll actually get away with it since his plan is so well thought out. One thing I really appreciated about the story was the clever inspector Hubbard. As of late there have been so many portrayals of detectives as dopes who can’t figure anything out but Hubbard really came through to bring more tension and hold Wendice’s feet to the fire.
This is not my favorite show I’ve ever seen but if you’re a fan of the film (and I was very inspired to see it after this show) give this show a chance. Tickets were just over $16 after taxes. My roommate and I took a Lyft and were certainly glad we did so. There is very little parking nearby. The theater is kind of close to the Cupcake Theater so if you know any secret parking lots near there you could walk from there and grab dinner.
Dial M For Murder is running weekends through August 13th. You can get tickets on Goldstar or through The Group Rep website. Through the theater’s website, tickets run for $25 dollars. The theater is small so arrive early to get good seats.