Review: Wait Until Dark (Red One Theatre Collective)

Toronto’s Red One Theatre Collective inaugurates their new home with the thrilling Wait Until Dark

Wait Until Dark isn’t only a thrilling production of the high calibre one would expect from the Red One Theatre Collective, it’s also their first full-scale spectacle, inaugurating their temporary theatrical home base StoreFront Theatre at the corner of Bloor St. West and Dovercourt Road.

The buzz was palpable as Collective members milled about this converted retail space now complete with a raked stage splayed with hotel conference chairs, mini-lights as light fixtures and incandescent bulbs with clothespin gel fasteners. You should see the basement! My dad and I loved it.

The set was detailed and aesthetically true to the 60’s-era play, one in which Sam and Suzy Hendrix are accidentally embroiled in a scandal when a seemingly innocent request of Sam’s draws three criminals to his home. Like the Audrey Hepburn cinematic original, the story ramps up to a nail-bitingly suspenseful conclusion.

The main character, Suzy (played by Dayle McLeod) is brilliant as a blind, socially proper housewife who must lean on her cleverness and instincts to survive in a confusing and deadly situation. The two assailants Mike (David Tompa) and Sgt. Carlino (Brenhan McKibbon), are tempted by the buffoon caricature but wisely show heart instead as petty thieves pulling the wool over Suzy’s eyes. Their leader, mastermind Roat (Tyrone Savage), while meant to be as evil as he is crafty, seems all bark and little bite. Save for the final scene, when Roat becomes physically aggressive, I found him more difficult to fear.

Suzy’s sometime adolescent assistant Gloria (Claire Armstrong) stole the show with her incredibly thoughtful and hilarious mixture of awkwardness and rage, doing something the other characters failed – injecting laugh out loud comedy without sacrificing mounting tension.

Don’t be fooled by the slow pace of the first act: every rollercoaster begins with an ascent twice as long as the plummet to the finish line. From the onset of Act Two, Dad and I were leaning forward in our chairs, hanging off every word.

What better way to usher in a new era for Red One Theatre Collective than by opening the StoreFront Theatre with this thrilling performance of Wait Until Dark?

Details: 

  • Wait Until Dark plays at the StoreFront Theatre (955 Bloor Street West) until January 26th, 2013
  • Performances are Tuesday – Saturday at 8pm, with Sunday Matinees at 2pm
  • Tickets are $23.54 each, general admission.
  • Box Office opens One hour prior to showtimes or available at www.secureaseat.com

 Photo of Dayle McLeod as Suzy, Brenhan McKibben as Carlino by Nathan Kelly