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September 20, 2011 > Theatre Review: Wait Until Dark

Theatre Review: Wait Until Dark

By Julie Grabowski

Broadway West gave Fremont its first taste of darkness in 1998, and is back at it again with their revival of Frederick Knott's "Wait Until Dark."

Susy, who lost her sight in a car accident about a year ago, is still adjusting to her disability with the help of her husband Sam, who seems determined that she be a "champion blind woman." They have a doll in their Greenwich Village basement apartment that Sam received from a strange woman who asked that he take it across the Canadian border to a child in the hospital. While they know about a music box inside the doll, they don't know that it also conceals a stash of heroin. Three criminals, desperate for money, show up when the doll goes missing, weaving a web of deceit and danger around Susy, culminating in a dark and deadly showdown.

Set designer R. Michael Price creates a cosy and welcoming apartment, one you could fancy yourself living in if con men weren't always showing up at the door.

The cast is adept and solid, led by the wonderful Morgan Voellger as Susy. Voellger applies a soft and steady hand to the task of playing a blind person, striking a comfortable and believable balance. She plays a multifaceted Susy - independent, resourceful, and likable, while also appearing childlike, overly trusting, and fragile. David McGuire and Lance Voellger are easy henchmen; Jim Woodbury bears all of the sinister weight as the black-clad Harry Roat, Jr., and wears it well. Julie Hancock takes an amusing turn as Susy's difficult 13-year-old neighbor and helper... yet something is missing.

There is little emotional attachment to the characters or a feeling of danger; your mind recognizes that conning a blind woman is awful and bad things are bound to happen, but the audience never really feels it. Wait Until Dark seems to remain on a mild note until the end without dramatic peaks or valleys or an air of tension or dastardly doom. Scuffling in the dark and bursts of match light are all very good, but the best is definitely saved for last when the promised darkness falls.

Tickets are $23 general and $18 for students, seniors, and TBA members. Thursday performances on September 22, October 6 and 13 are $15 for everyone, with a bargain Thursday September 29 when all tickets are $10. Sunday performances and opening night are $23 for everyone. The September 25 and October 2 performances begin with a continental brunch at 12:15 p.m., and the show starts at 1 p.m. The October 9 performance starts at 1 p.m. with theme-based refreshments during intermission. All ticket prices include refreshments. For reservations and information, call (510) 683-9218, or visit online at

Wait Until Dark
September 16 - October 15
8 p.m. (Sunday matinee: 1 p.m.)
Broadway West Theatre Company
4000-B Bay St., Fremont
(510) 683-9218
Tickets: $10 - $23

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