As much as I enjoyed some previous and excited with some upcoming Musicals, I consider straight plays as my front liners this year with reasons I already mentioned so many times before. And I'm so lucky to witness my first straight play this year, of course from Repertory Philippines titled "Wait Until Dark".
A sinister con man, Roat, and two ex-convicts, Mike and Carlino, are about to meet their match. They have traced the location of a mysterious doll, which they are much interested in, to the Greenwich Village apartment of Sam Hendrix and his blind wife, Susy. Sam had apparently been persuaded by a strange woman to transport the doll across the Canadian border, not knowing that sewn inside were several grams of heroin. When the woman is murdered the situation becomes more urgent. The con man and his ex-convicts, through a cleverly constructed deception, convince Susy that the police have implicated Sam in the woman's murder, and the doll, which she believes is the key to his innocence, is evidence. She refuses to reveal its location, and with the help of a young neighbor, figures out she is the victim of a 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 all the lights leaving both of them to maneuver in the dark until the game ends.
I have some issues about the show but mainly more about the material. Personally I prefer Suspense thrillers with more mystery on it. It adds up to the chills and excitement build up of the show. The writer's choice of revealing everything in the start of the show is a bit off for me. because of that, it makes me expect for more and it disappoints me that I didn't get what I expect in the end.
Good thing the cast assembled for "Wait Until Dark" makes up for the shortcomings of material. It is a thrill to see Philippines' finest talents grace the stage as they breath life to the play's characters. Robbie Guevara, back from his straight stint as a director in 9 Works Theatrical plays the funny and clumsy ConMan 1 aka Sgt. Carlino. It is so fun to see him play the show's funny guy. As a comic relief, Robbie perfectly executed his wacky moments. I'm seen him play serious roles but I guess Robbie is just born for this kind of roles. You should have seen him in "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown". Joel Trinidad is also not bad at all as he plays the Con Man 2 aka Mike Talman. As always his performance is anything but horrible and I expect that from somebody I actually considered as one of the best.
And finally of course who would not love Liesl Batucan. Her strong performance as Suzy Hendrix, a blind woman is the heart and soul of the show. Of course I already saw Liesl play so many roles before but this one just pushed her acting prowess beyond. Though I mentioned before that I'm a bit disappointed with the weak material, Liesl's performance just reignited my interest and gave me a good reason to be excited with the succeeding scenes. Suzy may be introduced as the damsel in distress but Liesl shows that there is a Darkness inside her just waiting to come out. Definitely a performance everyone should witness because it is Liesl, at her best. I can't even imagine what this woman can show more in the future. Magnificent!
The rest of the cast did pretty well too though most of them didn't really give that much of an impression. Take Arnel Carrion who played Roat for example, I find his performance weak and forgettable. Of course there is a legit reason for that. But still it is a performance and I've known him for being a good actor. I just felt he can do better despite the fact that he only got the script 6 days before the opening night. I may also add that it could be also the fault of the material itself. Like I said, I have problems with the "revelation" in the start of the play. Because of this, it makes Arnel's role less sinister and flat.
But despite some shortcomings, Wait Until Dark definitely deserves everyone's attention. It is fun to listen and dance to show tunes but treating ourselves with some pure acting goodness may help our artistic sensibilities grow and Love the craft even more.
Show will close on February 9 at the Onstage Theater Greenbelt 1, Makati City , grab your tickets now and don't miss it. For tickets call Ticketworld at (02) 891-9999 or visit official website for more infos.