“Wait Until Dark” delivers a solid production that showcases one of the things the Cape Fear Regional Theatre does best. It provides an opportunity for local audiences to see excellent collaboration from a talented cast and crew.
Director Talya Klein brings together a team of local, regional and national artists who present a story that engages the audience. We must pay attention to what is seen and heard, as the details are important – from the props themselves and their placement to the characters’ backgrounds and motives as revealed in the dialogue.
Susy and Sam Hendrix live in a basement apartment in New York City’s Greenwich Village in 1967. Susy is blind, and her husband, Sam, is a photographer who unwittingly brings home a doll filled with heroin. While Sam is away, a trio of con artists tries to trick Susy into giving them the doll.
As more nefarious deeds are revealed, the situation gets increasingly dangerous for Susy, played by Leah Curney. She first works to clear Sam’s name and then must devise a plan to learn whom she can trust. With skill, Curney leads the audience from seeing Susy as a possible victim to a character who uses her disability to her advantage.
Perhaps the best part of watching “Wait Until Dark” was seeing local and regional artists work with nationally recognized artists, both onstage and behind the scenes.
Also delivering noteworthy performances are the actors playing the con artists: Patrick Falcon, Justin Matthew Toyer and Greg King. King is no stranger to the CFRT stage, last appearing in “Trip to Bountiful.” Toyer and Falcon are making their CFRT debuts.
The sound, lighting and scenic design create an environment that pulls the audience in while delivering clues as the story plays out. Scenic designer Jonathan Dahm Robertson, lighting designer Caitlin Smith Rapoport, sound designer Jon Fredette and scenic artist David Rawlins bring a wide variety of local and national experience to the stage. They are a credit to the production.
“Wait Until Dark” was written by Frederick Knott and premiered on Broadway in 1966 followed by a movie adaptation in 1967. The play is billed as a suspense-thriller, but aside from a few surprises, I didn’t find much suspense in the story.
The first act provides the exposition of the characters and some of their motives. It also establishes that our Susy is way too trusting for a blind woman who spends a good amount of time alone while her photographer husband is off on assignments.
The second act is where our clever Susy begins to orchestrate a plan to reveal the truth about her antagonists. What I could not reconcile with the story is how this same clever Susy would entertain visits from these questionable characters in the first place. I wanted to stand up from the audience and shout, “Lock your door, Susy, don’t let strangers into your apartment!”
“Wait Until Dark” is a good choice for anyone who wants to see a talented cast and crew deliver a solid evening of entertainment. The show runs through Nov. 12 and is recommended for audiences 13 and above due to some violence.
Ticket prices and show times are available at www.cfrt.org or by calling the box office at (910) 323-4233.