Why blind woman who is home alone in New York City would continually leave her door unlocked is beyond me, but aside from that little hole, “Wait Until Dark” is one of the great theatrical thrillers.
The current production at the Little Brown Theatre, directed by Robinne Booth, makes great use of the intimate space, heightening the tension by having the actors and audience so close together.
The story is of the aforementioned blind woman, Susy Hendrix (Holly Behunin), who is stalked by bad guys who believe she is in possession of a heroin-filled doll that her husband (John Robinson) unwittingly brought back from Canada.
Preying upon her handicap, two men pose as an old friend (Daryl Tucker) and a police detective (Scott Tarbet), thus gaining access to her apartment. They’re working for the truly evil Harry Roat (Scott Champion), who also plays a few roles in the scheme.
Scott Champion, also a ComedySportz performer in Provo, leads the cast with unparalleled zeal for his deliciously monstrous role. The play’s most chilling moments are thanks to him, especially in that finale, where — well, just you wait.
Also very impressive is Madelyn Tucker as Gloria, a little girl who lives upstairs and assists Susy. Madelyn is free of the self-consciousness one often sees in young actors, and her comfort on stage translates into a very enjoyable performance.
Holly Behunin is convincing as a blind woman, and in particular as one who has not been blind for very long, which describes Susy. At a performance opening weekend, Behunin grasped at a light-bulb string several times before finding it, and it was clear she was going to remain in character at all costs, even if she had to stand there flailing her arms forever. Good for her.
The rest of the cast members fill their roles nicely, if not with particular flair. None of the acting is especially bad, but it is nothing to write home about, either.
Parents should be aware that the play includes a murder or two. There is not a lot of blood, but the smallness of the space means it’s happening right in front of you, and it may be too intense for young kids.
Should you go? There are some great thrills and chills, especially if you’ve never seen it before. Take someone whose arm you can clutch.
Amusingly, the program said the play was written by Meredith Willson and Franklin Lacey -- which, in fact, is who wrote "The Music Man," which was the show the Villa did before this one.