Reliant though it is upon staginess (eerie mood music, periodic plunging of the audience into total darkness), New Village Arts Theatre’s production of Frederick Knott’s Wait Until Dark is thoroughly entertaining. If the title rings a bell, you may be remembering the 1967 film that starred Audrey Hepburn as a blind woman preyed upon in her New York City apartment by low-lifes in search of a doll stuffed with drugs. You may not know that it was based on Knott’s play, which premiered a year earlier.
The NVA staging is taut and atmospheric. Kristin Woodburn plays blind Susy Hendrix with the needed blend of spine and vulnerability. The heavies (Daren Scott, Eddie Yaroch and Max Macke) are a little one-note, but 10-year-old Abby DeSpain is remarkable in the role of the feisty, wise-beyond-her-years neighbor girl who helps Susy foil the bad guys.
David L. Coddon is theater critic for San Diego CityBeat