Wait Until Dark | Performing Arts Review | Chicago Reader

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Wait Until Dark

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Wait Until Dark, Stage Two Theatre Company, at Estonian House. Audrey Hepburn garnered her last Oscar nomination for the 1967 film adaptation of Frederick Knott's thriller about a blind woman, Suzy, terrorized by a trio of con men searching for a heroin-filled doll they believe is hidden in her apartment. Using her remaining senses (and the powers of perception and crime-fighting strategy that seem to grace every mystery novel protagonist suddenly in trouble), Suzy defends herself against criminals willing to use everything from deception to force to get what they're after.

To maximize the tale's suspense (and to compensate for some Murder, She Wrote-like plot development), the actors must terrify and the tech effects must create a sinister mood. This production goes about two-thirds of the way: the performances mix some decent character building with amateur-night tactics, and the tech design is well-intentioned but incompletely executed. Amanda Deierling White's surefootedness as Suzy (wouldn't a blind person exercise more caution, even in her own apartment?) and overblown facial expressions make it hard to buy into her vulnerability. And the criminals' often muffled, racing deliveries take away from any real sense of menace. The most consistently clear, sharp acting comes from Kurt Bloom as husband Sam, one of the smallest roles. The low-tech sound and lighting undermine the set--a loftlike apartment that facilitates the action well. Remember, darkness is key. No darkness, no terror.

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