Director Lynne Collinson breathes new life into the 1960's thriller "Wait Until Dark" at City Nights Dinner Theatre. The drama is about a blind woman, Suzy (Kathleen Oliverio) being terrorized by three villianous conmen(Sonny Dufault, Brian Ellsworth and Felix Stanley) in her Greenwich Village apartment. They are after a doll with heroin hidden inside it. The neighbor, a young girl, Gloria ( Rachel Miller-Sprafke) is the only one who can help Suzy. Throw in Suzy's husband (Bill Beatini) and two police officers (James Pollitt and Kathy Shurtleff) and you have the makings of a taut well acted and directed piece of theater that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
Kathleen Oliverio is outstanding as the blind woman. Her portrayal is perfect and she makes you believe she cannot see throughout the entire show. Kathleen's acting is superb. From all her lines, their delivery and the emotions behind them blend together splendidly. Her listening to the other actors and her reactions to them are wonderful to behold as are all her mannerisms and body language. A dynamite performance by this young actress is the right way to start off the New Year. Brava.
The hoodlums are wonderful in their roles, too. The sociopath murderer Mr. Roat is played by Sonny Dufault. He will have you quivering in fright with his venomous delivery of his lines and despicable treatment of a blind woman. This man can handle a dramatic part as well as a comic one. Sonny is a master at displaying great depth in any role he plays and Mr. Roat is no exception. His two henchmen, Mike Tallman (Brian Ellsworth) and Sgt. Carlino (Felix Stanley) are excellent as the greedy conmen. Brian handles the transition of the character's final realization of not harming a blind woman from the being a cad, very well and wins the sympathy of the audience. Felix makes Carlino, the dimwitted con into a tough and sinister figure always threatening Suzy. All three actors help build the needed tension and suspense to pull off this show.
Rachel plays Gloria so naturally, she makes the character a believable child. Her acting with Kathleen is fantastic and they make the scenes flow effortlessly. The throwing of the unbreakables and her finally helping Suzy out shows how accomplished, a young actress Rachel is. Rounding out the cast is Bill Beatini as Suzy's caring, perfectionist husband, and James Pollitt and Kathy Shurtleff (who does double duty as the very capable stage manager) as the cops who help with the hoodlums at show's end. Much of the praise goes to Lynne Collinson who directs her performers with ease. A great dramatic actress, she has a good eye for every detail that leads to this outstanding thriller. Lynne's choice of mood music supplied by Sonny makes the show into a more suspenseful framework it needs. Kyle Peltier runs the sound and lighting cues necessary to pull this show off. Run, do not walk to see a talented! cast perform in a very difficult show to stage but they do it.