Catch Me If You Can, Jack High Flush Productions, at Stage Left Theatre. While honeymooning at an isolated Catskills resort, Detroit advertising executive Daniel Corban reports that his wife has disappeared. While he's telling the story to a police inspector his wife enters, full of apologies and loving promises. Only she's not his wife. At least that's what Corban says, though no one can corroborate his story. Is he delusional, or is he caught in a female predator's elaborate trap?
Hitchcockian in its layers of suspense and duplicitous characters, Jack Weinstock and Willie Gilbert's adaptation of Robert Thomas's French play also features dialogue and wardrobe straight from the film master's era. Yet ingenious casting, tight direction, and the actors' natural instincts contribute to a production that never feels stale or dated. Where many actors would be tempted to affect phony detective-movie mannerisms, there's not a false note here. Eric Lindberg times the police inspector's hackneyed wisecracks impeccably, throwing them out like well-aimed fastballs. As Corban's "wife," Sarah Gee delivers her frequent cries of "but DAAR-ling, that's ri-DI-cu-lous" with the timeless poise and glamour of Grace Kelly or Tippi Hedren. And Paul Grondy's Corban keeps us locked in the mystery. Volatile, sweaty, panic-stricken as a cornered animal, he makes it impossible to know whether we should be on his side or not.
Don't even try to guess the outcome. Just prepare to bite your nails and watch your back.