Suspense at its Suspensiest
By Alison Tingley
All An Act Theatre Productions is currently presenting Wait Until Dark, by Frederick Knott. Wait Until Dark opened on Broadway in 1966 and then a revival opened in 1998. Such actors as Robert Duval, Quentin Tarantino, and Marisa Tomei have performed in this show. It was also made into a movie starring Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, and Richard Crenna in 1967. Directed by KC McCloskey and Larry Lewis, this dark (get it?) drama is full of suspense.
The story takes place in the apartment of Sam and Susy Hendrix sometime in the 1980s. Sam is a photographer and Susy is a blind housewife. On a business trip to Canada, Sam was asked to transport a doll back to the US for a woman, Lisa, he met at the airport. Unbeknownst to Sam, the doll is full of heroin. Harry Roat discovers the location of the doll through drastic measures and then convinces two other men, Mike Talman and Sergeant Carlino to help him get it back. Talman and Carlino reluctantly agree and the con begins. The idea is to convince Susy that Sam has murdered Lisa and that the doll is a key piece of evidence. Susy takes the bait at first but then realizes, with the help of her young neighbor, Gloria, that things don’t seem quite right, and she puts her own plan into motion.
The show features Dave Dicola (Mike Talman), Karl Seman (Sgt. Carlino), Victor Kuehn (Harry Roat), Jennifer L. Blair (Susy Hendrix), Jesse Billig (Sam Hendrix), Grace Rudd (Gloria), and Wayne Gardner and Jerry Villella (policemen). So, now, on to the review.
Holy Jennifer Blair, Batman! She is fantastic. You’d almost think she’s actually blind. Her movements are so realistic. And her reactions register from head to toe. You can see on her face the moment she realizes she’s being conned. Blair is also really, really, really good at screaming.
Dicola plays a con man with a heart quite convincingly. His whole manner changes as he becomes somewhat attached to Susy. Seman is convincing as well. Kuehn is smooth and cold-as-ice throughout the show. He always delivers perfect characters. Rudd is wonderful as a bratty child who maybe just wants some attention and a friend. Billig, Gardner, and Villella, with small parts, do a fine job of rounding out the cast.
The set is perfect, as always. The costumes work well. The direction is superb. The stage fighting is dramatic and realistic.
Wait Until Dark runs on weekends through October 27. This nerve-racking production is well worth seeing. If you can’t handle suspense, this is not the show for you. If you like suspense, I can almost guarantee that you will be on the edge of your seat before the show is over. Visit the website at www.allanact.net or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.