'Wait Until Dark' classic film noir thriller
The classic thriller Wait Until Dark has kicked off the Bickford Theatre's 2015 season in exciting style. This is a first rate thriller (with plenty of chills) of the 1940's 'film noir' genre originally written for the stage by Frederick Knott with a 1966 setting and cleverly reworked by Jeffrey Hatcher to the 1944 wartime period. If the title is familiar, a movie version with Audrey Hepburn was released in 1967. This Bickford production is the East coast premiere following a run in Los Angeles.
Director Eric Hafen (Bickford's Artistic Director) has assembled an all-star cast with first class production values for Wait Until Dark. The six character play features Lauren Klemp as Susan; Michael Irvin Pollard as Harry Roat; Duncan M. Rogers as Mike; Jeff Maschi as Carlino; Bob MacKay as Sam; and Sydney Soleil Stovall as Gloria.
The play is set in a 1940s Greenwich Village basement apartment... home to a freelance photographer, Sam (fresh from WWII) and his recently blinded wife, Susan. On Sam's return from a trip to Philadelphia via train, a woman accidentally places a doll in his open bag... a twin of hers. The mysterious doll contains something of great value...great enough to result in murder. The plot centers on the attempt to retrieve the doll from the apartment by any means-- from a hoax to a knife. The play's exciting climax has Susan in a life or death struggle with the killer. She cleverly levels the playing field by plunging the apartment into darkness, thus the meaning of the title Wait Until Dark. You can guess the outcome. In the hope that you will have the good fortune to see Director Hafen’s excellent production, we will provide no further plot details. This play is a constant roller-coaster ride with surprise twists at every turn.
All the performances are excellent; Lauren Klemp is very convincing as the blind Susan who slowly transforms from the young innocent to full knowledge of the danger she faces. Michael Irvin Pollard is a chilling villain with no hesitation in using his knife; Duncan M. Rogers (our recent NJ Footlights Best Actor award winner) nicely projects a degree of sympathy for Susan's plight; Jeff Maschi couldn't be more perfect as Carlino; Bob MacKay is fine in the minor role of Susan's husband, properly attentive and sensitive to his wife's sight condition; lastly is young Sydney Soleil Stovall making a very impressive New Jersey stage debut as Susan's teen-age neighbor.
Director Hafen's creative team includes: Scenic Designer: Roy Pancirov; Lighting Designer: Roman Klima; Costume Designer: Fran Harrison; Properties Designer: Dani Pietrowski; and Production Stage Manager: Yumi Matsuura. All aspects of this production are standouts; marvelous set, sinister lighting (a major part of the plot), appropriate period costumes, and believable props.
Wait Until Dark will play at the comfortable Bickford theatre through February 15. The remaining performances are: Thursday, 2/5 AT 7:30PM; Thursday, 2/12 AT 2PM*, Friday, 2/6, 2/13 AT 8PM, Saturday, 2/7, 2/14 AT 8PM, and Sunday, 2/8, 2/15 AT 2PM. There is an Audio Described Performance on Thursday, February 12.
Tickets: $45 General Public; $40 Seniors, Museum & Theatre Guild Members; $33 Groups (10+); $20 Students (under 18 or w/valid college ID).
Tickets may be purchased by phone at (973) 971-3706, or in person at the Bickford Theatre Box Office. The Bickford Theatre is an integral part of the Morris Museum, located at 6 Normandy Heights Road in Morristown, NJ, and offers free parking and full accessibility. Box Office hours for phone sales are Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm. Walk-up hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 am to 5 pm.
February 3, 2015
Northern New Jersey Theater Examiner