Wait Until Dark by Frederick Knott, Theatre Royal Nottingham, till 3 August, 4****: Alan Geary

Nottingham

Wait Until Dark

4****

Theatre Royal, Nottingham

Runs: 2h 25m: one interval: till 3 September

www.royalcentre-nottingham.co.uk

Nottingham’s Classic Thriller Season hits the ground with a classic classic.

This summer’s Colin McIntyre Classic Thriller Season at Nottingham’s Theatre Royal hits the ground with an undeniably classic classic. Wait until Dark (1966) is one of the two best and most successful thrillers from Frederick Knott, the other being Dial M for Murder (1952). Each of these is a masterpiece of the genre.

A young woman, Susy, beautiful – and completely blind – is left alone at the flat – this is pre-gentrification Notting Hill – she shares with her photographer husband. During the following day and night, she’s subjected to a tense and terrifying ordeal. Three bargain basement crooks, two of them just out of prison, are searching for a haul of heroin. For some reason not initially known to us, it’s stashed somewhere in the flat, hidden in a child’s doll.

Susy Henderson is done by Anna Mitcham in the play’s stand-out performance. She convinces us that here is a woman who, despite a huge disability, is shrewd, brave and resourceful. She doesn’t have better hearing than a sighted person; but she deploys what she has way more effectively than her adversaries.

Chris Sheridan (after a three-year break from the Thriller Season) plays Mike, the most significant of the three bad boys. Sheridan gives his man a touch of humour in his nastiness. But compared with a lot of period thrillers, nowadays routinely played tongue-in- cheek, this one has a significant strand of seriousness running through it.

A 1960s open-plan kitchen/sitting-room set is well observed and dressed by designer Sarah Wynne Kordas – that washing machine and fridge are straight out of the late fifties. And, what with all the phone calls coming in, as in all proper thrillers, the 706 telephone does a first-class job of work. In this production especially, Keith Tuttle’s lighting design is of course crucially important.

A definite go-see.

CREDITS

Mike: Chris Sheridan
Croker: David Martin
Roat: David Gilbrook
Susy Henderson: Anna Mitcham
Sam Henderson: John Goodrum
Gloria: Juliette Strobel

Director: Karen Henson
Set Design: Sarah Wynne Kordas
Sound Design: David Gilbrook

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