If you are expecting affectionate laughs and miraculous theatrical feats in the manner of Nobby Dimon/Patrick Barlow’s reinvention of The 39 Steps or Kneehigh’s take on Brief Encounter, then think again.

Lucy Bailey’s production reunites the West Yorkshire Playhouse with West End producers Fiery Angel, but there the similarities with The 39 Steps end, even if Alfred Hitchcock made films of both works. Rather than replicating Hitchcock’s dark mystery, Bailey focuses on the original theatrical strengths of Frederick Knott’s thriller.

She is on a murderous hot streak, arriving in Leeds trailing glowing reviews for her Royal Shakespeare Company debut with Julius Caesar, the ultimate study of the bloody world of politics.

Dial M For Murder shares the theme of wanting something that is not rightfully yours – in this case money, rather than power – but it is more of a chamber piece, or at least a drawing-room piece, where the plotting is by one man rather than the mass murder of Caesar.

That man is former tennis star professional Tony Wendice (Richard Lintern), whose manner is as smooth yet intimidating as his ground strokes no longer are. In his ground-floor flat in north west London, his wife Sheila (the outstanding Aislin McGuckin) and her former lover Max Halliday (a somewhat flat Nick Fletcher) nervously await his return, aware that he knows of their deception.

To secure her small inheritance, he plots the perfect murder, blackmailing petty criminal Captain Lesgate (Daniel Hill, too bland) to kill Sheila while protecting himself with a watertight alibi.

The strangling scene is rather too comical, typical of the production’s mortal fault: a lack of tension that cannot compensate for the impeccable attention to detail (attention matched by the investigations of Des McAleer’s ever-calm Inspector Hubbard).

Working in tandem with designer Mike Britton and lighting designer Chris Davey, Bailey has placed the emphasis on atmosphere and fluidity on a set whose revolving stage is the outstanding feature of this stylish show. From the telephone to the curtain to the gauze backdrop (with a towering staircase behind), crimson red is the dominant colour, one that adds to the dizzying sense of disorientation and shifting sands brought about by the rotations of the room and the regular movement of curtain that also serves as a screen.

Like Lesgate’s throttling of Sheila, however, Bailey’s less-than-thrilling production fails to apply a full grip.

Dial M For Murder, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, until October 3. Box office: 0113 213 7700