Review: Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark; 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday; 2 p.m. Sunday; $18-$21. Chautauqua Playhouse, 5325 Engle Road, Carmichael (inside La Sierra Community Center); (916) 489-7529; Through September 27.
Rated 3.0

Frederick Knott's drama Wait Until Dark is a stage classic that has become a staple of community theater since its 1966 Broadway debut. Given the public’s familiarity with the plot (and ending), it’s hard to keep up the suspense the story requires. And yet, the production now on stage at Carmichael’s Chautauqua Playhouse does the job nicely.

The six-person cast, directed by Dean Shellenberger and working on an impressively effective set designed by Rodger Hoopman, exploits the best elements of Knott’s story about a blind woman who becomes the target of three con men searching for heroin hidden in a doll her husband innocently transported home from a business trip.

Taylor Fleer plays the blind Susan perfectly, still tentative about her newly acquired sightlessness. Morgan Moynihan is just bratty enough to make Susan’s “helpmate” Gloria believable. As Roat, the originator of the plot, Nick Lunetta begins with a laid-back approach to the character that’s out of kilter with the murderous mastermind he later shows himself to be. John Walck as detective Carlino and Walt Thompson as Mike, a reputed Marine buddy of Sam’s, are convincing co-conspirators.