Faiba Bernard, a Ghanaian playwright on Wednesday 29th November 2023, wowed patrons with his unique adaptation of English playwright Frederick Knott‘s 1952 play of the same title, “Dial ‘M’ For Murder.”
Directed by Bernard himself, the play adds a distinctive Ghanaian flavour to the classic tale, creating an engaging and thought-provoking theatrical experience.
The narrative unfolds around a cheating wife and the vengeful husband, Na’Sei, who plots to have her murdered to secure their shared inheritance. However, the plot takes unexpected turns, unravelling a web of mysteries that demand answers. Bernard successfully injects Ghanaian elements and references into the story, delighting the audience with a cultural twist.
In the lead role of Na’Sei, Faiba Bernard showcases his versatility, occasionally drawing on his skills as a spoken word artist to deliver impactful lines. His portrayal adds depth to the character, making the audience empathize with the complexities of his vengeful quest.
Bernice Afi Nuna Quarshie as Aba and Eugene Evans (YujinSpeaks) as Kojo, the lover, contribute to the play’s emotional landscape. Bertram Jude Buckman‘s portrayal of Soforson, the hired killer, adds an intriguing layer of humour to the unfolding drama. However, the standout performance comes from Jay Garbrah, who flawlessly embodies the role of the Police Inspector, delivering lines with impeccable mastery that captivates the audience.
The play’s dialogue-heavy nature requires the audience to stay attentive, enhancing the suspense and engagement. Some acts in the play did seem rushed particularly because of the fast-paced nature of the play.
As the story delves into crime and investigations, it demands intellectual participation from the viewers, making for a compelling and immersive experience. However, that immersive experience was plagued with some challenges.
Despite the commendable performances, the production faced technical challenges, a recurring issue at the Folksplace. These challenges, though not uncommon in live performances, should be swiftly addressed to preserve the overall experience for the audience.
The initiative of the National Theatre to provide a platform like Wednesday Theatre for young playwrights and production outfits is commendable. The commitment to supporting emerging talents and allowing them to showcase their work is certainly laudable as it helps in the growth of theatre.
Wednesday Theatre at the Folksplace happens every last Wednesday of the month and we will be looking forward to the next one.
I will rate the production 3 out of 5 stars. “Dial ‘M’ For Murder” stands out as a captivating adaptation, skillfully blending a classic storyline with Ghanaian nuances. Faiba Bernard’s directorial and acting prowess, along with the strong ensemble cast, delivers a compelling performance that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Hopefully, they will be empowered to stage this production on a bigger stage with a larger audience in the main auditorium of the National Theater.