Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Review: Public Theatre Opens with Finely Tuned WAIT UNTIL DARK

Lewiston's Public Theatre opened its twenty-fifth season with a finely tuned, engrossing production of Frederick Knott's classic thriller, Wait Until Dark. Presented in a well-crafted adaptation by Jeffrey Hatcher which moves the action to the film noir world of the 1940s and directed by Janet Mitchko, this six-character drama retains all the spine-tingling creepiness of both the film and original stage versions.

Much of the credit goes to Mitchko, who strikes just the right pace and tone, building tension ever so slowly, starting with a deceptively innocuous first act that gradually escalates into sheer terror, along the way allowing for punctuating moments of nervous laughter.

The cast is uniformly excellent with the three criminals skillfully playing the dramatic irony of the situation perfectly. Jon Krupp is a frightening, psychotic presence as Roat, morphing from cold-blooded killer to the feigned pose of a distraught husband to a murderous maniac in a performance that is almost reptilian in its chameleon spookiness. Michael Serratore makes a perfect Carlino, a Damon Runyonesque gangster, complete with accent and physical mannerisms, while Jason Cadieux is most convincing as Mike, who not only pretends to be the "nice guy," but ultimately finds that there is some of that compassion in himself after all. Rounding out the male cast is Jon L. Peacock as the sympathetic husband Sam.

Amy Hutchins as the blind, but resourceful Susan, gives a powerful performance, never descending into self-pity or melodramatics, she allows the audience to feel her abject terror as well as her great inner strength. As the teenage upstairs neighbor Gloria, Ella S.G. Werner turns in a compellingly fresh interpretation of the brash and damaged young girl.

The unit set by Jennifer B. Madigan evokes the gloomy, spare Greenwich Village basement apartment to perfection and supplies all the devices needed by the action. Bart Garvey's lighting design solves the all-important chiaroscuro of the drama, using dim lighting, virtually complete blackouts and starling moments of contrast, while Joan Larkins Mather supplies the period costumes with the obligatory trench coats prominent.

Despite the familiarity of the play and the movie, the Public's audience found itself completely engaged in the drama and swept along by the catharsis of the plot. Wait Until Dark is a welcome break from the long list of comedies this theatre programs, and the entire company acquits itself brilliantly.

Photo courtesy Public Theatre

Wait Until Dark runs from October 16-25, 2015 at the Public Theatre, 31 Maple Street, Lewiston, ME 04240 www.thepublictheatre.org 207-782-3200


Vote Now for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Maine Awards
voting ends in



Latest Standings Released For The 2022 BroadwayWorld Maine Awards; Maine State Music Theat Photo
The latest standings as of Monday, December 5th, have been released for the 2022 BroadwayWorld Maine Awards! Nominations were reader-submitted and now our readers get to vote for their favorites.

Holiday Music Blossoms At Husson Universitys Gracie Theatre With CELLOPHANE FLOWERS Photo
The Gracie Theatre celebrates the music of the holiday season on Sunday, December 4, 2022 at 3 p.m. with the band, Cellophane Flowers. The afternoon concert, 'Christmas Chronicles,' is a fusion of Beatles hits and holiday favorites. This performance is made possible through the generous support of the John Kilgore Fund.

Husson University Theatre ITS A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO SHOW Photo
Husson University Theatre (HUT), the university's official student theatre club, will perform Joe Landry's 'It's a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play' on December 2 - 4, 2022 in The Gracie's Black Box Theatre.

SHREK THE MUSICAL Comes To Marshwood High School Photo
A hilarious fairytale is brought to life as Marshwood High School presents Shrek, The Musical.


From This Author - Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold

Born and raised in the metropolitan New York area, Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold took her degrees at Sarah Lawrence College and Fairleigh Dickinson University. She began her career as a teacher... (read more about this author)


Good Theater Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Ambitious and Affecting CAROUSELGood Theater Celebrates 20th Anniversary with Ambitious and Affecting CAROUSEL
November 17, 2022

The current production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s CAROUSEL at the Good Theater represents the realization of a lifelong dream for Executive/Artistic Director Brian P. Allen, and the show that he has conceived and directed is both ambitious and genuinely affecting. Marshalling all the resources that this small company can command, Allen has created a chamber version of this 1945 masterpiece that preserves the heart of the tale and pays homage to what is arguably Rodgers & Hammerstein finest score.

Review: THE VICTORIAN LADIES DETECTIVE COLLECTIVE Confronts Convention, Gender Bias - and a Serial KillerReview: THE VICTORIAN LADIES DETECTIVE COLLECTIVE Confronts Convention, Gender Bias - and a Serial Killer
November 7, 2022

The Public Theatre’s production of Patricia Milton’s THE VICTORIAN LADIES DETECTIVE COLLECTIVE is a witty, sophisticated, clever examination of late Victorian mores, skillfully embedded with subtle feminist rhetoric, and all encased in the classic mystery thriller format. Add to this recipe a handful of zany, colorful characters and some facile repartee, and the end result is a delightfully period piece with a compelling contemporary twist.

Review: The Ever-Elusive SHERLOCK HOLMES at Portland StageReview: The Ever-Elusive SHERLOCK HOLMES at Portland Stage
October 31, 2022

For its second offering of the season Portland Stage regales its audience with Steven Dietz’s adaptation of William Gillette and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s original play, Sherlock Holmes: The Final Adventure. The play, a re-imagined period piece, offers a low-key, witty take on the familiar characters and material with enough twists and turns to satisfy Conan Doyle fans.

MSMT Draws Large Crowd for Concert on the MallMSMT Draws Large Crowd for Concert on the Mall
August 25, 2022

What better way to cap what has been billed as MSMT’s Revival Season than with a free, festive outdoor event that, despite intermittent showers, drew a large, enthusiastic crowd? That is exactly what MSMT did on August 24 when it presented its annual MSMT Concert on the Mall as part of the Brunswick Downtown Association’s summer series. In a program designed to thank the community for its loyal support of the theatre, especially during the pandemic, the seventy-five-minute concert featured performers from the company’s current main stage show, KINKY BOOTS, as well as other local artists in a rousing and engaging program of musical theatre selections.

Resilience, Acceptance, and Change: The Healing Lessons in KINKY BOOTSResilience, Acceptance, and Change: The Healing Lessons in KINKY BOOTS
August 20, 2022

“Lola gains her strength from her resilience,” says Stephane Duret, who plays the drag queen star of MSMT’s KINKY BOOTS. “Sometimes she feels like an island, alone in this world she has created. But she survives. She’s got her Angels for support, her chosen family, and even when she gets a little slap in the face from Charlie, she comes back to their partnership. That’s her resilience.” “And Lola challenges others to be accepting and to change their perspective,” continues MSMT Artistic Director Curt Dale Clark. “I consider it important for MSMT to present something that can cause change in a community, and this show with Stephane’s and the entire cast’s unbelievable performances is doing just that!” His remarks draw applause from the capacity audience at MSMT’s final Peek Behind the Curtain panel discussion, moderated by Carla Maria Verdino-Süllwold, BWW’s Maine editor, on August 17 at Curtis Memorial Library in Brunswick.