Wait Until Dark: Attention to detail, good acting make for a strong production

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Categories: Professional Theatre

Photo: Jean-Denis Labelle

Photo: Jean-Denis Labelle

Evening the odds is at the core of Wait Until Dark. Although the thriller by Frederick Knott creaks a little after 51 years, the central theme continues to hold its own.

The protagonist, Susy, is learning to cope after an accident that blinded her. When a psychopathic killer, aided by two con men, terrorize her in their search for a drug-stuffed doll, she seeks to outwit them by making their world as dark as hers.

For anyone who has not seen the twist in the exciting climax, either on stage or in the 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn, Wait Until Dark can be a nail-biter. Although the excitement of the unknown is lost the second or third time around, a strong production makes the drama well worth revisiting.

And the Classic Theatre Festival production of Wait Until Dark, directed by Laurel Smith, is certainly that. Most notable for its attention to detail — the occasional noises from the refrigerator, for example — as well as a sensitive characterization from Alison Smyth as the feisty Susy, the tension builds with her realization that her various visitors are not what they seem.

As the most sympathetic of the three villains, Alastair Love is solid and believable, while Greg Campbell is appropriately threatening and detached as Harry. Richard Gélinas plays the false cop as too much of a caricature for my taste, possibly in an attempt to differentiate his persona from those of the other two crooks.

As Susy’s nine-year-old neighbour, Madison Miernik is convincing in temper tantrums, remorse and kindness, while Scott Clarkson delivers a believable cameo as Susy’s caring husband.

 

The Classic Theatre Festival production of Wait Until Dark continues in Perth to August 30.

 

Wait Until Dark

By Frederick Knott

Classic Theatre Festival

Director: Laurel Smith

Set: Jennifer Goodman

Lighting: Wesley McKenzie

Sound: Matthew Behrens

Costumes: Renate Seiler

 

Cast:

Mike Talman/Policeman.……………………Alastair Love

Sgt. Carlino…………………………………..Richard Gélinas

Harry Roat, Jr………………………………..Greg Campbell

Susy Hendrix…………………………………Alison Smyth

Sam Hendrix………………………………….Scott Clarkson

Gloria…………………………………………Madison Miernik

Gloria (u/s)……………………………………Samantha Salter

Policeman…………………………………….Sean Jacklin


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