THE classic thriller Dial M for Murder is coming to the Palace Theatre in Westcliff next week, starring Diana Vickers and Tom Chambers.

The play, made famous by Alfred Hitchcock's film, will open on Tuesday November 9 until Saturday November 13, at the theatre in London Road.

TV and stage favourite Chambers, (Top Hat, Strictly Come Dancing) stars as the charismatic and manipulative Tony Wendice, a jaded ex-tennis pro who has given it all up for his wife Margot, played by Vickers, West End star (Little Voice) and number one chart-topping recording artist and X Factor finalist.

When he discovers she has been unfaithful his mind turns to revenge and the pursuit of the ‘perfect crime’.

Chambers, who came to fame as Sam Strachan on Holby City and was crowned Strictly Come Dancing champ in 2008, likes exploring Wendice’s complexities, saying: “We’re not going down the obvious cad root. Our take on Tony is as a friendly, warm person who is caring and honest but behind the scenes he’s working a whole load of stuff out.”

He’s thrilled to be back on the road with the production.

“You can feel the energy in the air and it now feels more exciting and poignant than ever. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and it’s been such a long absence,” he said.

Taking over from Sally Bretton (who did the tour last year and is now busy filming Not Going Out), Diana Vickers leapt at the chance to play Margot, saying: “I’m a massive fan of the genre so saying yes was a no-brainer for me.”

The X Factor semi-finalist turned actress and writer has done some comedy stand-up recently, as well as writing a TV series, but the last time she toured with a play was in The Entertainer in 2019. “So it’s a bit daunting. I’m excited but terrified at the same time,” she said.

She sums up Margot as “smart and a bit of a risk-taker” who feels lonely and unseen by Tony, then she meets novelist Max Halliday.

“She feels very trapped in her situation with Tony, constantly running around after him. Then she meets Max and he’s new and fresh and makes her feel alive. I think she quite likes the danger of having an affair under her husband’s nose.”

Diana notes how Margot is very much a woman of her time. “She doesn’t really have a voice. The way the inspector speaks to her is almost like: ‘Shush, woman. The boys will deal with this.’”

But times, Vickers is happy to note, are changing. “There definitely has been progress, especially in this industry. There are a lot of female-generated or female-dominated projects and women are speaking out, whereas in Margot’s time they couldn’t.”

The show starts at 8pm.

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