Light, shadows, sound and silences coalesce with acting artistry to create a stirring, sensational air of suspense in Hedgerow Theatre’s production of WAIT UNTIL DARK, written by Frederick Knott, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Jared Reed.
Set in a venerable Greenwich Village basement apartment, Fall of 1944, this thriller illuminates a blind housewife’s ability to utilize her lack of sight as a tool to survive the onslaught of thugs threatening her and her loved ones. Three con men are after a valuable doll that was slipped to her husband while he was traveling, and have located the couple’s home from the address on his travel bag. Manipulative and murderous, these charlatans contrive a complex trap in order to recoup the doll. Susan Hendrix (Lisa Villamil) is home alone, save the occasional visit from adolescent Gloria (Abigail Kanes) from upstairs, but she is quite competent, and intelligent. While Susan cannot see, her other senses have been heightened, giving her insights to clues that others may miss. This and her uncanny knack of ‘reading’ people make for more than just a stab in the dark against her attackers.
Varied intensities and angles of light (Justin Baker), including a noirish violet glow infuse the beautifully detailed set (Shaun Yates) with an atmosphere of tension, aided by a sweetly succinct combination of sound (Kate Sporacio) and music, including the jazz interludes and the hum of the old refrigerator when the door is opened. A tautness to the timing and movement adds edginess to overall action, amped by a superb acting ensemble including aforementioned Lisa Villamil completely convincing as Susan, and Abigail Kanes adorably authentic as young Gloria with new glasses and adolescent attitude, Owen Corey parlaying a charming con man with a heart as Mike, Matthew Windham portraying a pert Carlino, a cop gone bad and Adam Altman playing the most malevolent of the men, Roat, in tune with all of his character’s ranges.
Hedgerow has brilliantly mined the juxtaposed stillnesses, the silences, and darkness that prevails throughout the house when the lights are briefly extinguished for every drop of audience anticipation making Wait Until Dark a sensational experience!
[Hedgerow Theatre, 64 Rose Valley Road, Media, PA] February 8-March 18, 2018; hedgerowtheatre.org