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Wait Until Dark – a review

Wait Until Dark – a review

The evening of 6th November saw the New Wolsey Theatre’s opening night of a revival of the classic thriller Wait Until Dark. Brought to Ipswich, as part of a national tour, by The Original Theatre Company in association with Eastbourne Theatres, it was with keen anticipation that I attended the first night performance. 

Written by the English dramatist Frederick Knott, the play was first performed in 1966, on New York’s Broadway, and had a setting in the city. For this current production, the action has been transferred to London, set amidst the social turbulence of the 1960s. To reveal too much of the story in this review could spoil the experience for readers who decide to attend the play. However, a brief outline of the story is that it follows the embroilment of Susy, a blind woman, who has been left alone in her apartment with a group of conmen. Being left to fend for herself, Susy’s fate at the hands of her murderous visitors is the plot device which results in the tension being continually ratcheted up, keeping the audience on the edges of their seats. It would be unfair to reveal the denouement, but the clue to it is contained within the play’s title.

The cast of actors treated the audience to a memorable production. They included Jack Ellis, well-known from his television roles in Prime Suspect and Bad Girls, who gave a fine performance as the care-worn old lag, Mike. Tim Treloar, in the role of Roat, was a convincing murderous psychopath, which must have had all the audience hoping that he would get his comeuppance.

A special mention has to be given to Karina Jones, in giving a unique performance in her playing of the role of the main protagonist, Susy. Over the period of the play’s productions, on both stage and screen, the role of Susy has been played by many famous and talented actors, none more so than Audrey Hepburn in the 1967 film adaptation. However, it is has taken until 2017 for Karina to be the first visually impaired actress to play the blind heroine – and about time, too! For me, her real-life disability brought increased reality and tension to the performance, adding to the authenticity of the theatrical experience.

Shannon Rewcroft played the role of the schoolgirl, Gloria. Her slightly over-the-top performance, as if a character in an Enid Blyton girls’ school story, was highly entertaining. She inserted moments of real humour, as a contrast to Treloar’s evocation of Roat’s villainy. Both Graeme Brookes, as the menacing Croker, and Oliver Mellor, as Sam, gave performances of real substance, and these, together with a final scene appearance from Tom McCarron, as the Policeman, all contributed to a notable production.

This drama evoked distant memories in me of happy early-years experiences of seeing repertory theatre performances of Agatha Christie-style plays, and I really liked this one, too. I urge readers to go out and enjoy this suspenseful and gripping production.

Review by Robert Carr, undergraduate studying on the BA (Hons) English course at the University of Suffolk.

Wait Until Dark is showing at the New Wolsey Theatre until 11th November. To book tickets click here.

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