Wait Until Dark
Foxton Little Theatre
Written by Frederick Knott
Directed by Carl Terry
Reviewed by Damian Thorne
My latest assignment had me venture to Foxton, where the villain from my childhood still lives and breathes. Appropriate that I was there to see a famous noir thriller with more villains than an opposition backbench.
I'd never been to Foxton Little Theatre before and there is something very special about both the building itself and the people who inhabit it. Seated around dining tables, I wished we'd attended on a Saturday when they serve dinner, but was comfortable and thankful for the seats centre stage.
The history of Wait Until Dark is rich with stars such as Quentin Tarantino, Robert Duvall, Lee Remick and Marisa Tomei playing leads, to name just a few. First performed in 1966, it was followed by a movie version from Warner Bros in 1967 that starred Audrey Hepburn, Oscar nominated for her role.
Originally set in New York's Greenwich Village, the action was transferred to London's Notting Hill for the 2003 revival.
Remaining in the affluent W2 district of England's capital, tonight's action took place on an incredibly detailed set – a basement flat similar to one I used to live in while residing in London, plonked directly on to the Foxton Little Theatre stage.
Director/designer Carl Terry's eye for detail is meticulous, and it's a set where the large sections of physical action can take place without banisters wobbling or door frames jarring. The set is something to behold and an audible gasp ripped through the theatre as the rag pulled open on the stroke of 7.30pm.
I would have been happy to never see the rag again, but it was used, unnecessarily, to show time passing between scenes, slowing things down and breaking the mood. This could have been more effectively done with lighting changes or more of the sinister incidental music.
The appliances on set also needed to be more of the 60s era, mainly because the fridge and washer featured heavily in the plot – otherwise I may not have noticed them being slightly too modern.
The dialogue is fierce and there really isn't anything to hide behind as it snakes this way and that revealing its twists over three acts. The cast largely hold their own, with some unfortunate awkward moments where they reach for their next line, making it a little hard to follow in places, but boy are they carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders and hats must go off to them.
Allie Clifford as the blind protagonist Susy really runs a marathon both mentally and physically, and while I would have loved some dark and light in her dialogue delivery, she crosses the finish line with a performance to be proud of, aided wonderfully by 12-year-old Sarhan Chapman as Gloria, who has the most fun in the world trashing the set during a childish temper tantrum.
The word ambitious was thrown around our table, and it is an ambitious play staged by a group of very talented people. There was definitely nothing little about our night at Foxton Theatre.
+ Info: The show runs at 7.30pm each Friday and Saturday until April 17. Bookings at Property Brokers on 06 363 0022.