There are things blind people "see" that escape those with normal vision. Although blinded just a year earlier, Suzy Henderson's developing sharp senses may be the only things that can save her from danger. The Notting Hill Gate housewife is targeted by three con-men on the day her husband had to leave for a business trip.
The three men are searching for a musical doll, which Suzy's husband, Sam, innocently brought from Holland as a favor to a woman who has since been murdered. The doll hides a stash of pricey heroin that the trio wants to retrieve at all costs.
This is the main plot of Repertory Philippines' first offering for its 76th Season this 2014. Wait Until Dark, written by Frederick Knott, is a heart-pounding thriller that kept me guessing and at the edge of my seat while the story was unfolding. The excellent cast, along with great lighting and eery music, successfully made audiences acutely feel every suspenseful moment.
Leading the cast is Liesl Batucan as Suzy. I was excited to see how she would play the role of a blind woman and she has exceeded my expectations! Liesl would make you believe that she has, indeed, lost her sight and is navigating her way through darkness using her other senses. I loved how she was able to convey various emotions by smoothly transitioning from a humorous wife's playfulness and a friendly host to an irritated neighbor, a terrified victim, and a determined wise woman. You will enjoy watching her in one of her best roles yet.
Two of the con-men, Mike and Croker, were likewise played very well by Joel Trinidad and Robbie Guevara. It was fascinating to hear them say their lines in a foreign accent. That was the first thing I noted as they were the first ones to appear on stage. Despite their bad intentions, the two would make you laugh in some of the scenes.
Roat, the hard-core criminal among the three, was given life by Arnel Carrion (the original Sam) who, incidentally, took on the role just six days prior to the show's opening! This was because Jamie Wilson (the original Roat) met an accident and was unable to continue due to a broken kneecap. Having so many lines to memorize and two roles (old and young Roat) to do, it was amazing how Arnel got to deliver an excellent performance in such a short time!
Instead of Arnel, it was Lorenz Martinez who acted as the photographer Sam Henderson, Suzy's loving husband. Although he wasn't in a lot of scenes, Loy established his character as a solidly reliable guy who loves his wife enough to hold back on helping her with house chores so she can better and faster deal with her blindness.
Rounding up the cast is Dani Gana, a very promising young actress who played the role of Gloria, Suzy's bratty neighbor. We had to laugh with her when she shared during the press con that she likes being able to throw things as part of her job. This girl is someone to watch out for. She has talent that will bring her far and into the next generation of admirable theater personalities.
Of course, Wait Until Dark wouldn't be the brilliant piece it is without the guidance of Director Miguel Faustmann (who also did the set design), Assistant Director Toff de Venecia, and Artistic Director Baby Barredo, lighting by John Batalla, sound design by Jethro Joaquin, hair and make-up by Ely Maalat, and the rest of the production crew who all did a very great job bringing the story to life.
Make sure to catch Wait Until Dark at the Onstage Theater in Greenbelt 1, Makati. The show runs until February 9, 2014. Showtimes are at Fridays 8PM, Saturdays 3:30PM and 8PM, and Sundays 3:30PM. For tickets, please call Ticketworld at 891-9999 or log on to www.repertoryphilippines.com
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*To see more photos taken during the press preview, please visit this Facebook album.