Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott, the new performance at the Studio Theater in Long Beach, should have had the black out curtain applied. A few of the actors as Roat ( Anthony Cohen); Suzy ( Kate Woodruff) and Gloria ( Tara Lynne Barr) did the best they could considering the circumstances. Having seem both the original Broadway play and the movie (the movie being far superior) I don't recall either of them being slow or boring and yet in this performance I had to wake my husband twice so his snores would not upset the audience. Jim Felton ( Sam Hendrix) was not on long enough to judge but Mike Talman ( Mike Jensen) and Sgt. Carlino ( Walter DuRant) were both stiff and mechanical. Neither man seemed to really be into their parts.
Directed by Carl daSilva, the play also featured Jane Nunn (stage manager), Andrew Vonderschmitt (Production Coordinator), Paul Colacchio(Managing Director), Donna Fritsche (Costume Shop) Christa Svornich(operations Director) Caprice Spender Rothe
(Prop Shop Manager) Joe Bryd and Jonathon Kolbush (House Managers) Elaine Herman(Artistic Coordinatro) Bev Turner(Scenic
Designer), Danny Driskol(Lighting Designer) Jesse GrothOlson (Sound desinger) Mitchell Nunn (board Operator) Andrew Otero (Scenic Painter) Mal Grott, Ray Smith and Kirk Halley (Scene shop assistants), Cort Hukabone (Marketing), Robert Craig (Photography)and Peter Prucnel(Program Design.)
The story, as you might know, is about a young newly blind housewife whose husband brings home a doll from canada and does not realize that there is heroin in there until Roat hires two con artists to help him find the doll. Believing that her husband is at fault for the death of the woman who had the doll originally, Suzy agrees to help, until with the help of Gloria, the girl upstairs, she discovers the scam. Then the chase is on but on Suzy's terms. In the movie, I was engrossed in the terror of the moment; in the play I wondered why if there are several hours between her knowing the scam and the bad guy returning she didn't do more to protect herself or go to the police, but that is part of the original story.
In addition, the seats were not slanted properly and so despite the slight rise, it was impossible to see above the people in front of me.
While one can appreciate the old beauty and charm of this 1950's brick and spacious building, the fact that there was no elevator for handicapp was indeed a problem. I don't recall being told, when I booked the seats, that steep steps had to be climbed. The actors tried to do the best they could under circumstances that were far from ideal. Several upcoming plays include The Gift of Murder, Of Mice and Men, and Blithe Spirit. Hopefully they will be better than this. Just be sure, if you are handicapped, to know which theatre you are going to and don't choose the upstairs one.
Tickets are $18 with seniors and students discounted. Friday and Saturday performances are a 8 pm while Sunday matinees are at 2 pm. The play runs until July 12, 2008. The Long Beach Playhouse is located at 5021 East Anaheim Street, Long Beach, Ca 90804; 562 494 1014 or www.LBPH.com Special group rates are available.