Review: Playhouse Merced’s “Wait Until Dark”

Taking a break from the many great musicals Playhouse Merced has recently presented, I got a chance to see their current production, a mystery thriller play called “Wait Until Dark.”

A sinister con man, Roat, and two ex-convicts, Mike and Carlino, are about to meet their match. When they implicate the husband of a blind woman named Susy in a murder, she is forced to unravel their bizarre charade.  But when Roat kills his associates, a deadly game of cat and mouse ensues between the two.  Susy knows the only way to play fair is by her rules, so when darkness falls she turns off the lights leaving all of them to maneuver in the dark until the game ends.

Sounds pretty straightforward, right? There were many twists and turns in this play that at times left me confused, and at other times made me anxious and worried for the actors on stage. If you haven’t been privileged to sit on the end of your seat waiting to see what happens recently, then you should attend this play!

There are truly some evil actors, although I don’t think they are that way in real life. Roat, played by El Capitan High School English and drama teacher Patrick Kincaid, does an excellent job portraying a character that you love to hate. He is pure evil and will do anything to get what he wants, including murder.

Fiery redhead Ariel Hicks played Susy, the woman who recently went blind. She absolutely embodied her character, and the million (or so) lines she had were delivered flawlessly, taking the audience on an emotional journey.

Special shout-out also goes to Bernadette Mello, who played Carlino. I am unsure if her accent was real or if she just had that much skill, but I sure wouldn’t want to get on her bad side. Like Hicks, she delivered the spunk, emotion, and characterizations that sucked you into the storyline.

As always, Playhouse Merced is showing that there is real talent in our community. The amount of work that goes into a production of this sort is incredible, and no detail was left out, right down to the set and numerous props and their functionality. When the old rotary-style phone rings (a real ring, not just a sound effect pumped out through the speakers), and the refrigerator light comes on and you hear the hum of the freezer when it’s opened, you know that Playhouse Merced doesn’t settle for second best and ensures everything they are putting forward is top-notch.

This is the last weekend of the play’s run, so grab your tickets online to see the show tonight at 7:30 pm or the matinee at 2:00 tomorrow.