REVIEW: ‘Wait Until Dark’ is Pitch-Perfect in the Pitch-Black 

by Noah Moore 

Sometimes the world is scarier with the blinds open and freezers are for keeping secrets–or at least, that’s how it seems in Covedale Center for the Art’s production of Wait Until Dark. Darkness isn’t just an enemy, it’s an ally in this thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat, and waiting for the dark conclusion.

In Covedale’s Wait Until Dark, Susy, played by Anna Hazard, is unraveling the plot, but plays it cool with the con-men, played by Douglas Fries, Rhys Boatwright, and Geoff Simmons, before getting her revenge. Photos by Tammy Cassessa.

Plot of Wait Until Dark

Frederick Nott’s classic novel comes alive, telling the story of Susy Hendrix, a blind woman living in Greenwich village in 1944. Unbeknownst to her, a very special doll has fallen into the possession of her husband–a doll that may or may not contain something valuable. Slowly, Susy puts together the pieces of a plot against her life by the men looking for the doll. 

With all the elements of the famed 1967 film and the thrill of live theatre, we witness Susy’s gritty will to outsmart the con-men. Darkness is as good of a weapon as any, and through help from her neighbor, Gloria, Susy’s blindness comes in handy in a thrilling finale the show has become known for. At just under two hours, the show twists and turns, but never loses focus, resulting in a satisfying, albeit spine-tingling, night of theatre. 

In Covedale’s Wait Until Dark, Gloria, played by Sophie Stockton, confronts Susy, played by Anna Hazard, about the ongoing events in their apartment complex. Photos by Tammy Cassessa.

Performances 

In a physical tour-de-force, Anna Hazard as Susy carries the weight of the show on her shoulders. Eyes wide open, Hazard’s performance conveys the complexity of blindness as less an ailment, and more a superpower. Douglas Fries, as Lieutenant Mike Talman, is the friendly villain whose keen performance keeps the show’s elements a surprise. Hazard and Fries’ onstage chemistry is strong, which makes his character’s reveal even more unexpected. 

However, no true thriller is complete without the brainy sidekick, Gloria. Sophie Stockton is hilarious in the role. Stockton’s deadpan delivery and unique role to the plot make her a standout performer that lights up the stage with her costars. Despite the show’s short run-time, it never feels rushed and the ensemble works to keep the show flowing without feeling speedy.

Covedale’s Wait Until Dark.

Technical Elements 

The show leaps off the stage for many reasons, the most paramount being Brett Bowling’s intricate stage design. From the looming air vents and rafters to the clever use of windows for intrigue, the stage seems to be caving in on itself not unlike the situation Susy finds herself in. The show’s tight pace is helped by stage manager Holly McGowan, whose swift cues for lighting and sound effects place audiences in the hypervigilant mind of Susy. 

This show can be a massive undertaking, with tricks and intrigue designed not to give too much away. The most impressive trick involves a thrown knife narrowly missing a character’s head, which is expertly, even magically, executed. Corrie Danieley’s sleek direction has an acute sense of tension and plot payoff, making this show a treasure trove for mystery lovers. 

Overall 

A tinge of terror seemingly befits the bleakness of January, and there’s no better dosage than in Wait Until Dark. Beyond the thrill lies a lesson in seeing beyond what’s in front of you to understand the truth, however dark it may be.

Tickets to Wait Until Dark

Wait until Dark plays through February 18, 2024. Click HERE for ticket information. Don’t wait.