One thing is for sure; you'll never be disappointed when you see a show at Northport's stunning John W. Engeman Theatre. Located on Long Island, their current Alan Souza directed production, Frederick Knott's suspense-filled Wait Until Dark, will have you at The Edge of your seat in anticipation and apprehension for the entire show.
Running through March 10th, this story follows Susy Hendrix, a recently blinded Greenwich Village housewife, who becomes the target of three con-men on the hunt for a child's doll that is filled with heroin. Her husband, Sam, unknowingly transported the heroin during his travels from Canada at the hurried request of a woman (the actual smuggler) who was on the same plane.
Portraying Susy was Engeman vet and TV's All My Children cast member Christina Bennett Lind. Playing blind, of course, is a daunting task, but Ms. Lind pulled it off splendidly even with the elaborate bi-level set done by Jonathan Collins. The entrance to the Hendrix's apartment was on the second level going down a substantial flight of stairs into their living room that had a large couch, coffee and lamp tables, in addition to the cluttered kitchen on the right side of the stage.
The three con-men devise an elaborate story/scheme to get into Susy and Sam's apartment to search for the doll filled with heroin. One of the men portrays himself as "Sergeant Carlino" and the other as "Mike Talman, an old friend of her husband". Eric Rolland and G.R. Johnson are in these roles, respectively. "Roat", the ringleader, is portrayed by Michael Sharon. These men were great in their roles. In particular, "Rout" had an intense "cat and mouse" chase scene during the second act with Susy that stirred the audience. At one point during this scene, there was, literally, complete darkness, so you really didn't know what was about to happen. The build-up of suspense was felt throughout the theatre.
Above everything, Susy is very clever and with the help of Gloria, the young girl upstairs, Susy realizes the true identity of the con-men and plans to defeat them. Carly Tamer, a Long Island native, portrayed Gloria. Her performance was well done, even very mature, for someone of 8-10 years old. She had a very sizeable role and it is clear her time in previous roles like Cindy-Lou Who in the national tour of How The Grinch Stole Christmas prepped her well.
This play doesn't seem to be done enough. Given the right resources, this play could be really well done, as in the Engeman Theatre's case. The story is relatable as well; especially in these days where you sometimes don't really know who you're dealing with. This wonderful cast, their performance, and a suspenseful story will have you leaving the theatre disconcerted, but in a good way.
Wait Until Dark is presented by Northport's John W. Engeman Theatre on Long Island through March 10th. By Frederick Knott, Directed by Alan Souza, Scenic Design by Jonathan Collins, Costume Design by Megan A. Moore, Lighting Design by Jill Nagle, Sound Design by Craig Kaufman, Hair and Make-up by Mark Adam Rampmeyer, Casting by Stephen DeAngelis, and Stage Manager is Michelle Lynn Hines. For more information and to purchase tickets, please call 631-261-2900 or visit engemantheater.com.
#All Photo's by AnnMarie Snyder