Emma Graveson in Wait Until Dark
Photo: Tracy-Lynn Chernaske

Metro Theatre

Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott

When & Where February 18 - March 5, 2023 at 8pm or Matinees at 2pm | Metro Theatre

Director Don Briard Production Manager Joan Koebel Set Designer Glynnis Brassil Costume Designer Christine Egerton-Ball Sound Designer Roger Monk Technical Director/Sound Designer Les Erskine Set Decoration Daisy Fung Properties Manager Claire Turner Stage Manager Kate Pasula

Reviewer Christian Steckler

The Metro Theatre, having entertained audiences for sixty years, has come to be relied upon for quality of production, satisfying entertainment, and professional performance in its offerings. One usually forgets that s/he is watching people acting roles - a true sign of excellence. The opening performance of the fifty-year-old thriller, Wait Until Dark, began on rather shaky footing, with somewhat wooden acting and a sense of trying too hard. This reviewer soon attributed this to opening-night nerves, however, because, from the second scene of the play, performances became more relaxed and authentic, and the performance soon worked its way to the high standards that Metro audiences usually enjoy.

Direction and acting in this play demand assiduous attention to detail, emotional tone, and movement. Don Briard met the directing challenges more than ably, having performers engage, and use the space meaningfully and realistically. The actors soon immersed themselves in the emotion and action of each moment, successfully building suspense as the story progressed. Emma Graveson convincingly played a confident blind Susy Hendrix, our protagonist, with conviction. The bad guys, James Behenna as Mike Talman, Andrew Kenny as Sgt. Carlino, and Matthew Briard as Harry Roat Jr., worked the suspense well, exhibiting different personalities along the way - a rather hesitant-to-be-bad, sensitive Talman, a selfish, cowardly Cardino, and a perfectly hateful, sadistic Roat. Alexa Rojas Ponce, as Gloria, charmed the audience with her very real sudden changes from moments of adolescent angst to warm caring; and James Barclay gave a really fine and natural portrayal of Susy’s loving husband, Sam.

The story was placed in an attractive, realistic set, appropriate to the theme, and balanced in its aesthetics and focus of action. Sound effects during the inter-scene blackouts were duly eerie and foreboding, and an original touch. Lighting was masterfully handled, with off-stage effects, and critical timing at the climax of the play.

This production of Wait Until Dark is a worthwhile evening’s entertainment. The play has never yet seemed dated, despite its fifty years on stage. The Metro Theatre’s attention to excellence bodes well for the run of this play; and the acting, once the nerves are put away, is a tribute to the fine performances that mark the high standards that Metro has achieved.

© 2023 Christian Steckler