Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott is a masterfully constructed thriller woven with secret identities, a sordid drug smuggling ring and murder. Recently blinded, Susy Hendrix unwittingly finds herself in the possession of a doll that the sinister Roat is after. He enlists two con men to assist him, developing into a tense and deadly game of cat and mouse as Susy desperately attempts to even the playing field. Each suspenseful moment builds in menace until the final terrifying, breath stopping scene.
Director: Michelle Ferguson
Featuring: Eric Regimbald, Ashley O’Connell, Angelo Renai, Sandra Medeiros, Brent Clark, Amelie Love and Madeline Angel
Stage Manager: Maria Denholme
Set Design: John R. Taylor
Costume Design: Cheyenne Mabberley
Lighting Design: Jeff Elrick
Sound: Curtis Tweedie
Fight Choreography: Sylvie LaRiviere
Props: Kris Neufeld
Publicity: Damon Jang
Photography by Angelo Renai and Luka Cyprian
Naked Goddess Productions invites you into the depths of the Havana Theatre on Commercial Drive to experience a live suspense/thriller called Wait Until Dark.
When I first walked in, I was impressed with the set design, prepared by John R. Taylor and consisting of the inside of what appears to be a basement level suite. When the scene begins, the tension is immediate as we witness what looks like someone breaking in and entering the apartment suite. Not only that, but mere minutes afterwards, another character trespasses onto the property. Who are these people? What are they doing here? Suspense - check!
What unravels before us is a con game that features a phony detective, a treasured doll, a few opening night mishaps (lighting, messed up lines), a precocious child, a murder, and a blind woman.
Based on the 1967 Audrey Hepburn thriller film of the same name, check out Frederick Knott's period-piece stageplay-noir Wait Until Dark on now at the Havana Theatre until March 12.
Wait Until Dark is a thrilling evening of theatre presented by Naked Goddess Productions in the intimate Havana Theatre this March. The tension will keep you on the edge of your seat as the plot of hidden identities, crime and manipulation plays out onstage.
The story begins with two ex-convicts, Mike Talman (Eric Regimbald) and Sgt. Carlino (Ashley O’Connell), who have worked together as con artists in the past, meeting in a seemingly mundane suburban house. Harry Roat (Angelo Renai) quickly arrives on the scene and lays out his plan to manipulate the blind housewife who lives there into revealing the location of a doll that her husband brought home from the airport. The twist? The doll is full of heroin.
Naked Goddess Productions worked with a small but talented cast to bring this thriller by Frederick Knott to life on the small Havana stage. While pacing was a bit lacking, the general building of tension was present throughout the show. Whether it was direction or not, some of the characters seemed to lag on their lines, which could be an attempt at contrast but appeared more as tentativeness. There’s no doubt that this flaw will iron itself out as the run continues and the cast becomes more confident.
The small cast gave each actor a moment to shine. Ashley O’Connell had great comedic timing, getting the most laughs out of the audience which served as a nice break from the overlying drama of the play. Eric Regimbald played his role of the ex-con struggling with his conscience with honesty and great commitment. Though he didn’t have much stage time, Brent Clark stepped into the shoes of caring husband with ease and charm. Angelo Renai played the part of intimidating ‘Roat’ with dry humour and sociopathic bravado.
The standout of the cast, however, was Sandra Medeiros as the blind housewife, Susy Hendrix. A combination of great direction by Michelle Ferguson and obvious research done by Medeiros, inspired an authentic interpretation of the character’s blindness. The specificity in Medeiros’ movement was calculated and while it sometimes seemed to distract her from her lines, was incredibly well-executed. It does make me wonder whether hiring an authentically visually impaired actor would have been a better route but Medeiros put in the work that made her carry off the part with much success.
The set design, by John R. Taylor, was gorgeous and really set up the atmosphere of the play, making it easier for the actors and the audience to step right in without looking back. The Havana theatre is an intimate spot but the set capitalized on every inch of free space without making the small blackbox feel cramped. This really is a testament to the design and construction of the set. The whole show happened in one location (the kitchen) making it essential for the set to be captivating and Taylor definitely succeeded; the attention to detail was immaculate, with a functional fridge, washer and oven featured in his design.
The fight sequences, choreographed by Sylvie LaRiviere, were tight and era-appropriate. One of the most exciting moments of the entire show was a fight at the climax where Susy and Roat are battling in near-darkness. The hand to hand combat was lit only by a spot of light emanating from the fridge and it was incredibly realistic, despite how little the audience could see. This lent itself to the tension building as the fight featured a knife, making it hard not to worry about the actor’s safety involved. Thankfully, the choreography was well executed and professionally created to ensure safety and realism.
Wait Until Dark is an evening of thrilling mystery presented by Naked Goddess Productions, chock full of local talent.
Wait Until Dark was a tightly written crime thriller that came out in 1967. This was no small movie: no less than Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin were in it. It was based on a play that had been written a year prior, but while that script is tight it is dated. It was written in a bygone era and it feels like it, which makes the directorial and acting choices of this particular rendition all the more interesting.
The story is simple enough – two recently paroled conmen, Mike Talmon and Carlino, that used to work together receive a phone call from someone they presume is an old colleague named Lisa, whom both were in love with. Sadly, it turns out said colleague is dead, but her killer, a man named Roat, has a job for them. The job will will pay each of them seven thousand dollars when all is said and done, and all they have to do is find a doll that Lisa gave to a mark while on a plane, a doll that is full of something illegal and expensive, but now the doll has gone missing.
The mark, a man named Sam Hendrix, is a photographer that lives with his blind wife, Suzy. A neighboring child sometimes helps Suzy out with things and is a bit of brat. The three criminals are trying to coax the location of the doll from Suzy, but there are complications that arise between them as Suzy slowly figures out their game introduces some complications of her own.
First night jitters aside, the lighting and sound design is actively brilliant. The story revolves around Suzy and her ability to notice small details and the manipulation of light sources. Actress Sandra Medeiros clearly put a lot of work into her role as Suzy, and her portrayal is one of quiet strength and savage intelligence. She predominantly plays off of Eric Regimbald, who centers the whole play as Sam, adding notes of menace and remorse throughout. There’s a tragedy that plays out between these two, and Eric’s increasingly unraveled emotions play beautifully against the rigid control that Sandra brings to Suzy.
Ashley O’Connell brings a likability to the part of Carlino that borders on endearing, while Angelo Renai starts his Roat softly but ends his performance in Vaudeville. With a standard modern script neither of their performances would work, but the blocking and script make their performances feel like an authentic piece of sixties theater. It’s an intelligent choice, a look backwards that forces the audience to accept what was.
The parts of Sam and the child are smaller, with Sam in particular existing in one scene and ghosting another. Brent Clark does what he needs to do, though his dialogue and attitudes are very much a product of the time this script was written. Amelie Love gives the child, Gloria, a brat-like quality that results in at least three deaths over the course of the story. There’s a puckishness to her that works well for this story, and it should be interesting to watch her grow into her craft.
Wait Until Dark is very much what it is; there’s little nuance to be found, but there doesn’t need to be. The story is suspenseful, and the tension that results is entirely upon the shoulders of the actors as much as the script, direction, and lighting. It’s not for everybody, but if you like the sixties crime aesthetic this is very much the sort of thing you will love.
The play is showing at the Havana Theater, which is by the northeast corner of Charles and Commercial. The theater is fronted by a rather good restaurant, so if you arrive at 6:30 or so you’ll have plenty of time to dine and then catch the show itself, which starts at about 8:00. Tickets are $20 in advance or $25 at the door, and there’s the fun that mortals call Two-For-One Tuesdays, so if you’re looking for date night ideas on the cheap this will do you. Wait Until Dark is running from March 2nd until the 12th, so if this sounds like your cup of tea give it a look.
I just wanted to congratulate you on a wonderfully choreographed and beautifully acted stage production.
My band of ladies were truly impressed with your rendition of a blind woman in terrifying circumstances. It's a truly difficult part to play but you did it with integrity and dignity and never once did we feel anything but empowered by watching the character navigate through rough waters.
The entire cast did a fantastic job, there were some wonderful moments that gave me true goosebumps.
Please pass on my congratulations to your cast and crew for a fantastic production.
I hope your entire run was as successful as your closing night, I'm sure that it was.
Thank you for allowing me to be a small part of your team, I really had a great time. I was reminded how much I miss the ins and the outs of the theater world. So, thank you so much for allowing me to be a part of it.
I'm sorry I didn't get the chance to meet you after the show last night to tell you how much I enjoyed it! You were a lovely and believable Susy and the whole cast was wonderful. Was that Amelie in the role of Gloria last night? What a scary delight she was! I loved the edge and suspense and humour in this production. Great audience response, too! You should be proud of all your hard work in bringing this show to life.
I also appreciate all your efforts in making last night's performance more accessible to VocalEye members. They all enjoyed the show and your performance. Many thanks also for the ad in your program.
Wishing you continued success and have a great closing weekend!
Thank you Naked Goddess Productions for a lovely night at the theatre. Go see Wait Until Dark at the Havana! Sandra Medeiros plays a blind woman to perfection. John R Taylor's set is fabulous as usual. He's a master with that Havana stage.
Amazing show tonight. I can't wait until the next one.
What a SHOW! Absolutely amazing!
Congratulations on a great show Sandra. You were brilliant and Amelie lit up the stage.(As Madeline did too, I'm sure). We loved it.
Watched Wait Until Dark last night. Great production and talent. Sandra Medeiros , you were amazing and I have to say I was blown away by Amelie I think she stole the show!
Thank you for a great evening last night. You (& Maddy) were FABULOUS! Best yet!
What I admire about Sandra Medeiros is her commitment and dedication to producing quality theatre featuring and showcasing strong roles for women. She and her cast have mounted a very entertaining play. There are three nights left to see this production!
Just saw Wait Until Dark by Naked Goddess Production - fun, funny, caper & suspense play. Great job by all the Actors (inc. Sandra Medeiros, Ashley O'Connell)
Sandra's daughter steals the show as Gloria. Bravo! Great costumes, lights, sound & another fantastic set by John R Taylor. Kudos to SM Goddess Maria Denholme for rocking the pre-show announcements. Catch this show if you can!
Fantastic job, Sandra! Congrats to the whole crew for a great production and so wonderful to see a full house!
So good! I was on the edge of my seat!
We loved it!
So glad I came out last night! The play was great and so were you!
Congratulations! Great job Sandra! You were amazing!