Woy Woy Little Theatre’s August production opened last weekend. Director Penny Dilworth brings us another classic thriller from the pen of Frederick Knott, author of Dial M For Murder. Wait Until Dark, written in 1966, was also a huge hit, enjoying successful runs on Broadway and London’s West End before it was made into the memorable 1967 film version starring Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin.
Sam Kendrick thinks he’s doing a good deed when a strange woman persuades him to transport a doll across the Canadian border, but it’s his blind wife, Suzy, who faces the consequences. When the woman is killed, con men convince Suzy that her husband is implicated in the murder and the doll is the key to proving Sam’s innocence. Their true object is the heroine stash that’s hidden in the doll and, when Suzy discovers the deception, she enlists a young neighbour’s help to outwit the criminals. A tense cat and mouse game ensues as Suzy pits her wits against a very dangerous opponent. Can she level the field and make him play on her terms? Or is she in over her head?
Knott’s cleverly crafted script plays with shades of light and dark in more ways than one, with moments of warmth and humour in the early stages giving us time to embrace the characters and feel with them as they move into the darkness and suspense of the final scenes. Woy Woy’s production is directed by Penny Dilworth with a great cast that includes award winning actors, Sierra Phillips and Adam Young. Sierra gives an engaging, sympathetic and convincing performance as Suzy, and handles the physical challenges of her role admirably, while Adam revels in a role that enables him to demonstrate his range and versatility. Newcomer Evelyne Mealing is entertaining in her debut as young Gloria, and good support is provided by Woy Woy regulars Stephen Cummings and John Lusty, and the rest of the cast who all do well in their roles.
The staging of the play presents technical challenges, which Penny’s direction handles very well, and the lighting and sound team are to be congratulated for their significant contribution to creating scene, setting and action. Good musical choices also help to evoke and maintain the dramatic atmosphere. Stage, setting and costume effectively recreate the sixties era of the play, and Ms. Phillips’ hair stylist deserves a word of credit for her impressive ‘do’. All the elements combine to produce a gripping drama that keeps you guessing, and holding your breath for the outcome.
The play continues at The Peninsula Theatre until Sunday 28th August and tickets are available from the group’s website at woywoylt.com.au/