EXCERPTS FROM THE REVIEW
The following are excerpts from the September 14, 2016 DC Theatre Scene Review of Wait Until Dark by Jayne Blanchard
Listen up, guys and molls. Playwright Jeffrey Hatcher has pumped lead, film noir lead, see, into that chestnut Wait Until Dark and it’s a looker. Youse need to leg it to Everyman Theatre because this show is the jakes.
Frederick Knott, of Dial M for Murder fame, wrote Wait Until Dark and set it in 1960s New York City. You may recall the tense 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn as Susan, a blind young woman besieged by some very bad men searching for something that may or may not be hidden in her apartment.
In adapting the play, Hatcher moved the action to Greenwich Village in 1944, giving it a film noir twist that heightens the suspense and paranoia as well as capturing the moral opacity and more sinister qualities of the post-World War II era.
The result is dark jolt of suspenseful fun that is scary and racy in a femme fatale sort of way.
Wait Until Dark could be seen as Susan being victimized and scammed but ultimately using her resources to prevail, but it is more nuanced than that. Setting the play in the moral unease and tenseness of the mid-1940s makes it unsettling and disturbing on a level deeper than a damsel in distress.
Everybody’s got a story and director Donald Hicken brings out the dual natures of the characters with style, while keeping up a snappy pace. Megan Anderson is so convincing as the blind Susan you hold your breath as she moves around the apartment and are truly concerned about her safety. Her Susan, however, is not a victim. Vulnerable, certainly, but intuitive and resourceful as she copes with mortal danger as well as adjusting to her fairly recent disability.
This scene, where you only hear the sounds of a scuffle, is a genuine thrill that had audience members shrieking out loud.
Anderson is perfectly matched with Nelson as the killer Roat, using his elegant diction as a pointy weapon as he slinks around the apartment flexing his black-gloved hands.
Even though it seems odd to recommend a show with gangsters, gats and shivs as family fare, much of the show’s violence and sexual undertones are implied or take place in the dark. The audience’s imagination more than amply fills in the blanks and hours after Wait Until Dark you might find yourself feeling a little creeped out walking into a dark room.