With a title like Wait Until Dark!, the viewer is immediately left with an ominous feeling.
The play that follows its title is suspenseful in all the best ways.
Based on the 1966 Frederick Knott play, criminal mastermind Harry Roat Jr. and blind housewife of Sam, Susy Hendrix, face off in a tale of manipulation and criminal ambition.
Roat’s object of desire is a children’s doll laced with the heroin he yearns for, elusively veiled in the confines of Susy’s kitchen.
Roat coerces two penniless con men recently released from jail to assist with his criminal plot.
As a dangerous game of chess unfolded on stage, both the black and white sides of the characters drove the play to great success, honouring the complexity and intelligence with which the script was crafted.
In what could have been a clichéd dialogue of suspense terminology, the word choice was clever, using choppy sentences that packed a punch when they needed to.
A visually dynamic set further enabled the plot by using ordinary kitchen items wielded by the characters to achieve their end goals. Making inspired use of lighting, the villain and damsel-not-so-in-distress brilliantly personified the evil and contra-evil the writing intends.
On one side of the negotiations is Roat, the malicious crook, played by Andrew Sekine, who appears a champion of wit from his first entrance through the plot’s spectacular dénouement.
The all-encompassing consideration of the character of one of the con men, played by Vince Ricci was reminiscent of the Wolf in Pulp Fiction. Ricci was nothing but a pleasure to watch, maneuvering about the stage with suave style and believable assurance. To his credit, Ricci also managed an impressive balance between his character and the two other personalities he forged in his endeavors to secure the doll.
In stark contrast is Susy, who is initially written off as a marginal player but soon proves a worthy adversary. Behind vacant eyes, the character applies logic in a way that leaves the audience pleasantly surprised.
Through the strength of Charlotte Boyer, what at first is blindness becomes a poker face, calculating and unyielding to fear. Seemingly outmatched, Susy relies on her ingenuity and an admirable dose of courage to fend off her opponents.
In a stellar cast that had a marvelous script to play with, Ricci and Joseph Garrett were serviceable as the two con men, even though their delivery seemed overacted and overdramatic at times, like in the final scenes when their façade is revealed.
Wait Until Dark! didn’t disappoint — the inherent mysterious tone of the title ran throughout the play.
The audience was left in a state of anticipation right until Roat delivered his very last line.
Wait Until Dark! runs tonight and tomorrow night in the Vogt Studio at 8 p.m.
This article has been updated to reflect the following clarification: The object sought after by the con men was a doll, not a stuffed animal.
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