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Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014

Murder in the Brumder Mansion

Milwaukee landmark a classy setting for ‘Dial M’

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Triumvirate Theatricals and Milwaukee Entertainment Group stage a classy production of Dial M For Murder at the Brumder Mansion this month. The 1950s thriller stars Randall T. Anderson as a man of razor-sharp intellect who is conspiring to have his wife murdered. His desire to have her killed stems from an extramarital affair that she engaged in. One of Emily Craig’s greatest challenges in the role of his wife lies in making her seem sympathetic and vulnerable enough early on that we are emotionally invested in her wellbeing. Craig’s performance strikes the right balance of strength and independence without compromising any of the precious vulnerability that is so vital to making the tension real. That she’s able to do this in a relatively short appearance early on is quite impressive.

The husband’s conspiracy involves the blackmail of an old college friend played here by Michael Guthrie. There’s a certain unassuming charm about Guthrie playing a man who is being cunningly dissected by the villain in the interest of blackmail. Details are slowly revealed until it is clear that he has no choice but to engage in the murder. The gravity of that exchange works here as the action is drawn to the inevitable conflict. Played out in near darkness, that physical conflict is powerfully visceral in the intimacy of the venue. 

The refined mood of the piece is served quite well in the performance space in the basement of the Brumder Mansion. The elegance of the historic mansion serves as a very fitting habitat for the icy, sinister villain played so well by Anderson. 

Dial M For Murder runs through Aug. 31 at the Brumder Mansion, 3046 W. Wisconsin Ave. For tickets, call 414-388-9104.