If ever there was a play where sound and lighting take center stage, it’s Jeffrey Hatcher’s Wait Until Dark. This update of the 1966 Frederick Knott play, now running at Theatre in the Round in Minneapolis, has as its protagonist Susan (Heather Burrmeister), a newlywed who happens to be blind. Susan solves mysteries while navigating her marriage, a twisting and turning plot, confrontations with the Bad Guys(TM).
The two pivotal characters in this mystery thriller are Susan and the scene-chewing villain Roat (Christopher J. DeVaan). Both are excellent; DeVaan in particular brings a sheen and gleam to Roat’s evil notes. Filling out the rest of the six-person cast are Alex Abdelwahed, Parker Shook, Ryan D. Maddux, and Andy Schnabel. Besides our lead protagonist and antagonist, however, the other big stars are the lighting design by Sadie Ward and the score and sound design by Robert Hoffman. The illusion isn’t perfect – it’s hard not to see ambient light somewhere in a theatre in the round – but the combination of lighting and soundscapes aptly renders Susan’s sensory world.
If you’re familiar with the 1967 film adaptation of the original play, Hatcher’s update of the script takes the story in some different directions and moves the show’s period. The film has Audrey Hepburn, but you’ll want to save on watching that until after you’ve seen this version of the story. Just avoid the 1982 HBO version.
Wait Until Dark plays through September 30 at Theatre in the Round in Minneapolis, MN.