ALTRINCHAM Little Theatre is this week presenting Frederic Knott’s thriller Dial M for Murder.

First seen as a television play it became famous after Alfred Hitchcock made a film about it.

Set in 1952, a time when telephones were comparatively new, the use of a telephone to commit murder rang true with audiences at the time.

The plot is intricate, but your concentration will be rewarded.

In the programme, director Garth Jones writes it is not a whodunit ­— but a will he get away with it?

It’s about Sheila Wendice (Margot in the film) who once, had an affair with an American murder mystery writer Max Halliday while her husband, Tony, was abroad playing professional tennis.

It is Ewan Henderson’s Max who delivers the most telling line: “In stories things turn out as the author plans them to ­— in real life, they don’t always”.

It is a tribute to the acting skills of Gary Woodhall, who, as Tony Wendice, the scheming husband, enables us to practically read his sinister thoughts simply by his expression.

He plays his long and complicated role well, clearly spelling out the meaning and implication of his many words.

Charlie Welsh stands out in the role of upper class socialite, Sheila Wendice.

She isn’t as haughty as the original Margot but more innocent which warms us to her.

The other two characters ­— Alex Clarke as Captain Lesgate and Charlie Cook as Chief Inspector Hubbard add the necessary balance.

Steve Smith’s sound and lighting effects are exceptional.

The cast and director deserve credit for achieving the necessary eerie atmosphere and they make good use of the movement of props to indicate the murder plot.

Dial M for Murder is at Altrincham Little Theatre until Saturday. Star rating: * * * * *