Wait Until Dark, Saint Sebastian Players.
Featuring a terror-ridden blackout finale Commonwealth Edison would envy, this reliable 1966 nail-biter by Frederick Knott (who played the same tricks in Dial M for Murder) needs only to be properly tuned and timed to turn the audience inside out. And director Chuck Smith, in this well-oiled Saint Sebastian production, deals out the chills like a professional torturer.
The clever plot, famous from Audrey Hepburn’s frantic portrayal in the 1967 film, details the seemingly one-sided confrontation between Suzy, a blind woman in a Greenwich Village basement apartment, and three desperate con artists trying to trick her into revealing the whereabouts of a heroin-filled doll. Wisely, Bethanny Alexander stresses Suzy’s resourcefulness over her helplessness and underplays the work’s condescending references to the woman’s sixth sense. Most important, when we’re plunged into Suzy’s world of darkness, we feel we already know what it’s like.
Alexander gets tensile support from Kevin T. McCarthy as a sympathetic scoundrel, Jill Heiberger as the brat who becomes Suzy’s “eyes,” and Glenn Bugala as the sociopath who leaves the obligatory trail of bodies in his wake. Even the technical flubs on opening night–a lamp that went out when no one was nearby and a door without a functioning lock (though its being unlocked is crucial to the story)–paid tribute to this tingler’s clockwork intricacy.