Monday, January 13, 2020

Wait Until Dark—Lakewood Theatre Company—Lake Oswego, OR

          Blind Courage


    This classic thriller is written by Frederick Knott, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher and directed by Nancy McDonald (Lakewood’s acting teacher).  It is playing at their space, 368 S. State St. in Lake Oswego (parking lot to the rear of the bldg.), through February 16th.  For more information, go to their site at www.lakewood-center.org

    This suspense thriller was made into a very good film some years back with Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin, and Ricard Crenna.  It takes place, in this incarnation, in the mid-forties in a basement apartment in Greenwich Village, NY.  The Hitchcock thriller, Dial M For Murder, was also by the same author.  Confined spaces are always a dynamite setting for a story of suspense, which is partly why they were so popular on the radio during this era…being alone in a room at night and listening to a mystery, only added to the terror.  Look at the panic (and publicity) that happened with Orson Wells’ classic, War of the Worlds, on one fateful Halloween night.

    I can tell little of the story because it might give too much away with all its twists and turns.  Susan (Taylor Jean Grady) is a recently blinded young lady, who is also a newlywed, married to a photographer, Sam (Daniel Zubrinsky).  Through a set of circumstance, Sam ends up with a mysterious doll among his belongings.  But it seems this doll is also implicated in a heist, as well as a murder.  And so, the police, Carlino (Stan Yeend) are investigating the killing in their neighborhood.

    Sam is suddenly called away on business, leaving Susan with only her upstairs neighbor, a rather bratty, teenage girl, Gloria (Lana Sage), as a support.  And after that, a flurry of strangers invade her house, including the Roat (Paul Angelo) family, and an old war buddy of Sam’s, Mike (Mario Calcagno), who just happens to drop in for a visit.  More I cannot tell you without giving away vital clues, which an audience should discover.

    The plot is more contrived than it needs to be but it’s all for a purpose.  Once you get past the extensive expository of the story, it is quite suspenseful.  The set is nicely laid out by designer, John Gerth and McDonald has chosen her cast well, as they all are very convincing in their roles.  Angelo, usually known as a fine director, excels in the complicated role of Roat.  Grady does well in the key role of the blind, young wife, going through movements that were convincing for a person that was blind.  Sage does well in the role of the teen who you love and hate at the same time.

    I only wish this had been produced in a smaller venue, as there are plot devices that are unclear because of the expansive space.  A claustrophobic atmosphere would have worked much better for this story.  But it does create the hoped-for tension and is well worth your time to see it.

    I recommend this show.  If you do choose to see it, please tell them Dennis sent you.
--DJS

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