Craig Hepworth on Reimagining M for Murder

Craig Hepworth, Adele Stanhope and Karl Burge run Vertigo Theatre Productions, based in Manchester. They have staged successful productions of Bert V.Royal‘s Dog Sees God, a stage adaptation of the classic teen movie, The Breakfast Club and their own piece, the comedy 3-Sum.

We caught up with Craig to discuss Vertigo’s new production M, his love of Manchester and his future plans.

Tell us a bit about M
M is an idea myself and the co writer Adele Stanhope came up with, as we wanted to update and put a new spin on Dial M For Murder. I used to love the teen based thrillers and how trashy they were but also how well drawn they were. I love Dial M For Murder but thought the central premise to the plot would lend itself brilliantly to that kind of piece. We come at it from a whole new angle, we have our tongue firmly in our cheek throughout and take the audience through two hours of manipulation, back-stabbing, double crossing, sex and murder…..all the good stuff in life! Its aimed at a younger audience, late teens to early 30s, the kind of people who grew up on Cruel Intentions and Gossip in the mid 90s.

What do you like about performing/working in Manchester?
I love Manchester, it’s one of the greatest places on earth. The audiences are so open and excepting of new works and really get behind you. I think Fringe theatre is at an all time high in terms of quality and how much of it that there is around, and with places like Taurus Bar, Studio Salford, the Lowry etc allowing companies like us to perform there. It makes you grateful for living here.

Dog Sees God was well received. Does this put pressure on you this time around?
Dog Sees God was an amazing experience and the feedback we got was great. I was happy with my directing and finding my feet with that side of things, but this time around I’m feeling the pressure more because it’s an original piece. Our main aim is to please the audience, to have them leave feeling satisfied and give them the feeling that they have had a great night out and hopefully with M we will achieve that. I have a fantastic cast and crew in place who give it their all so I cannot ask for more than that.

M is part of the ‘Not Part Of Festival’ but you also work in theatre. Are you going to take in both events?
It is crazy that we are part of the ‘Not Part Of’ one week but then the next, I will be working at the Palace where Prima Donna will be playing as part of the International Festival. I think both events bring something new and exciting to Manchester. We plan to watch events from both of the festivals but especially support our fellow participants in the Not Part Of. I’m really looking forward to the W.A.R.T Show and Spring Awakening.

What are your future plans?
We have so many which is scary. Scary in that we have to sort things out so far in advance. Our next play opens at Taurus on November 4th and is another original piece called Rage. It’s my baby, myself and Adele have been working on it for so long. The piece deals with the questions asked after high school shootings occur; it’s very different from what we have done before. Then next year we have an original comedy opening called The Great American ’80s Soap Opera, which is, of course a spoof of the classic soap operas, then we finish of the year with Dog Sees God in Edinburgh at the Fringe Festival. Oh and in between all that I plan on sleeping, something I haven’t done since 2007!

Craig Hepworth was speaking to Glenn Meads.

M is at Taurus in Manchester from 1- 4 July. For further information, please click here.