‘Wait Until Dark’ Will Scare Your Socks Off

If you like roller coasters, haunted houses and things which go ”bump” in the night, the Uncommoners of Jamestown Community College are ready to scare your socks off, for sure.

”Wait Until Dark” by Frederick Knott is a true horror show. They tell you who they are, and how they’re going to do it and then they apply the chills, up and down your spine.

The plot concerns a young newlywed woman who happens to be blind. Susy Hendrix lives in a basement apartment, in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Her husband, a professional photographer, one day returns from a business trip with a doll. He says a woman in the airport asked him to carry the doll to her daughter, who is a patient in a New York City hospital, and he has agreed.

Suddenly, people begin showing up at the apartment, asking for the doll. The husband begins to get photography jobs which take him out to suburban communities, only to find that there is no one at the address wanting pictures taken. Meanwhile, Susy is visited by a policeman who doesn’t act exactly look like a policeman, and by an old military buddy of her husband’s who doesn’t seem to remember much about their days in the Marines.

Phones ring and people come to the door and the sense of the ominous grows until members of the audience gasped aloud, more than once.

The key to the play’s success is the skillful performance of Crin Fredrickson as the terrified but resourceful blind woman, and of Richie Hayes as the meanest, most ruthless villain you’ve encountered, in many a day.

The central pair is ably aided by Tyler Stimson and John Canning as the bad guy’s helpers, by Don Hill as the hapless husband, by Dwain Graham and Austin Shapp as genuine policemen, and by Eva Jaquith as the little girl who lives upstairs, and who knows more than such a young child ought to know about things.

Robert T. Schlick directed with skill. Opening night slowed down a bit, especially in the early scenes in which the whole complex situation needs to be spelled out, and sometimes it was difficult to hear and understand the dialogue, but the climax is truly thrilling, and full of surprises. Steven Gustafson and Scott Barton designed the excellent set.

”Wait Until Dark” repeats through March 15 in the Robert L. Scharmann Theatre, on the Jamestown campus of Jamestown Community College.