by Lorie Lewis Ham
This weekend I experienced a theatre marathon, seeing three shows that all fit in perfectly with the Halloween season! First was Dracula at COS, then The Rocky Horror Show at the Ice House in Visalia, and lastly the suspenseful thriller Wait Until Dark presented by the Reedley River City Theatre Co. at the Reedley Opera House.
Though first a play, Wait Until Dark is probably better known as the 1967 movie starring Audrey Hepburn. For those not familiar with the story, Susy Hendrix (Brianne Vogt) is a blind Greenwich Village housewife who becomes the target of three con men searching for a doll that is filled with heroin. Her husband Sam (Martin Leesch) innocently transported the doll from Canada as a favor to a woman he met at the airport when returning home. The three con men, Mike Talman (Joseph Ham), Sgt. Carlino (Don Applegate), and Harry Roat (Eric Bailey), try to get the doll away from Susy while her husband is kept busy. Also part of this small cast is Gloria (Elizabeth Applegate), a young girl who lives upstairs in the same apartment building.
This is a dark, twisted, and intense play as we watch these men concoct and act out a very complicated scheme to trick Susy into giving them the doll, made all the more nerve wracking due to Susy’s blindness. However, she turns out to be far more capable and brave than even she herself could have imagined.
Brianne does an excellent job of playing the sometimes innocent and frightened, and sometimes very brave, Susy. I can’t imagine the challenges of playing someone who is blind. It was very different seeing Elizabeth (you may remember her as young Cosette in RCTC’s Les Miserables) play such a brat as Gloria, but she did a very believable job. Joseph as Mike plays the role of the charming con man who easily wins Susy’s trust, and Don as Carlino is somewhat bumbling and provides the humor of the play. Eric is nicely creepy as Roat, and while not on stage for much of the show, Martin does a good job of playing the loving husband Sam. Everyone in this small cast did a great job, and the set of the New York apartment seemed very authentic.
Whether looking for something perfectly mysterious and creepy for your Halloween fun, or you just love a good mystery/thriller, don’t miss Wait Until Dark on stage at the Reedley Opera House until November 1 (there will not be a performance on Halloween). Tickets can be purchased on their website.
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