Night Chills: Wait Until Dark

 

Ben Conent-Terry Shea-David Adams Murphy-Kerystyn DesjardinWait Until Dark is a tense cat and mouse thriller featuring some first-rate performances. Susy Hendrix, who is blind, is all alone in her basement apartment after her photographer husband, Sam (Mike Pugliese), goes out of town for a few days.

Before long, Susy is visited by three men with sinister motives, Mike Talman (Ben Conant), “Sergeant” Carlino (David Adams Murphy) and Harry Roat (Terry Shea). It turns out she is in possession of a doll is filled with heroin and the men desperately want it. The mind games they play with Susy take up much of the story.

Kerstyn Desjardin avoids playing Susy as a stereotypical helpless damsel in distress. Instead, Desjardin conveys an appealing mix of steely resolve and vulnerability as Susy is forced to fight for her life. This is a woman who uses her intellect to defeat evil.

Conant has a seductive charm as Talman, who convinces Susy he is an old friend of her husband’s. The best performance in the show is by Shea, who is suitably malevolent, yet charming, as the mysterious Roat, who manipulates his partners in crime to do what he wants. He is a truly despicable man.

I also enjoyed Daisy Cox’s performance as Susy’s young upstairs neighbor, Gloria, who helps Susy when her life becomes chaotic.

The climactic fight between Roat and Susy in the darkened apartment is well-staged by director Vince Petronio. It is simply terrifying. If you’re looking for a good scare, then I guarantee Wait Until Dark will chill you to the bone on a cold winter’s night.

Wait Until Dark presented by The Players. Runs through January 29. Barker Playhouse. 400 Benefit St. Providence.

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