Theatre Mirror Reviews - "WAIT UNTIL DARK"

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Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2017 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Players' third show of their 107 season is "Wait Until Dark" by Frederick Knott. This mystery thriller's heroine is Susy Hendrix, a blind Greenwich Village housewife who becomes the target of three thugs searching for heroin hidden in a doll that her husband unwittingly transported from Canada as a favor to a woman who has since been murdered. The trio tries to convince Susy that her spouse has been implicated in the crime and the only way to protect him is to surrender the doll. More murder and mayhem ensue when she refuses. However with the stage lights off for the final scene, Susy has leveled the playing field by plunging her apartment into total darkness. Susy has been helped during the course of events by nine year old neighbor, Gloria, who runs errands for Susy and her husband, Sam. Director Vince Petronio breathes new life into this 1960's show with his spine tingling music and topnotch casting. Throw in two policeman who appear at the end of the show and you have the makings of a taut well acted and directed piece of theatre that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.

The 1960's Greenwich village set is by Dan Clement who built a staircase and windows with blinds that are frequently used during the show. Susy, the blind woman is excellently played by Kerstyn Desjardins. Her portrayal of this blind woman is terrific, making you believe that she can't see. From all her lines, their delivery and the emotions behind them blend together splendidly. Kerstyn listens intently to the other performers and her reactions to them are wonderful to behold as are her mannerisms and body language. The last scene is spine tingling and will make you want to jump out of your seat at its powerful impact.

The hoodlums are wonderful in their roles, too. The sociopath murderer, Harry Roat is played superbly by Terry Shea. He has the audience quivering in fear with his venomous delivery of the lines and his despicable treatment of a blind woman. Terry uses terrific different voices as this evil character as he changes from an old man into his son. His malevolence in the last scene is overpowering and very well done. I last reviewed Terry as the evil Judge in "Sweeney Todd." His two henchmen, Mike Tallman (Ben Conant) and Sgt. Carlino (David Adams Murphy) are brilliant as the greedy ex-cons. Ben handles the transition of the character's final realization of not harming a blind woman, going from cad to nicer guy which wins him the sympathy of the audience. His line delivery is superb. David makes Carlino, the dimwitted con into a tough and sinister figure always threatening Susy. His wiping of the fingerprints around the apartment is one of the funniest moments in the show. All three actors help build the needed tension and suspense to pull off this thriller.

11 year old Daisy Cox, makes her debut at The Players, as Gloria. Gloria, at first is a spoiled brat but eventually becomes one of Susy's strongest supporters in her time of need. Daisy does a great job in this role. Her outburst at Susy as she throws things around when Susy calls her four-eyes is also well done. She does a wonderful job in this role, following in the footsteps of her talented grandmother, Lynne Collinson. Playing Susy's doting and caring, perfectionist photographer husband, Sam is Mike Pugliese. Sam shows how he loves Susy by teaching her to do things for herself in the apartment. Rounding out the cast are Nicholas Menna and Dan Messier as the two cops who appear in the last scene. Kudos to Vince and his stage crew for pulling off this suspenseful show so wonderfully. So for classic thriller, be sure to catch "Wait Until Dark" at The Players. To join this theatre club call Bill Applegate.

WAIT UNTIL DARK (20 to 29 January)
The Players, Barker Playhouse, 400 Benefit Street, Providence, RI
1(401)273-0590 or

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