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Previewed 30 September 2003, Opened 15 October 2003, Closed 13 December 2003 at the Garrick Theatre in London
Frederick Knott's thriller Wait Until Dark in London starring Peter Bowles, Saskia Wickham and Gary Mavers.
When Sam Henderson innocently agrees to deliver a doll to a sick child, he has no idea of the series of events that have been set in motion. When it goes missing, the doll's secret cargo is so valuable that three con-men will stop at nothing to get it. However, they have not bargained on the resilience and ingenuity of Sam's blind wife, Suzy as she tried to make sense of the strange happenings going on around her. This story of one blind woman's struggle against the criminal underworld became a huge film hit when Audrey Hepburn took on the starring role in 1967.
The cast for Wait Until Dark features Peter Bowles, Gary Mavers and Saskia Wickham along with Robert Fitch, Bettrys Jones, Justin Deaville, Bill French and Tony Scannell. Directed by Joe Harmston with designs by Paul Farnsworth, lighting by Nick Richings and fight direction by William Hobbs. Peter Bowles' West End credits include Ron Hutchinson's new play The Beau (Haymarket Theatre 2001).
"In the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. But not if it's pitch black. When there is no light it's the sighted who'll struggle and the blind who will wear the crown. That is the intriguing proposal which drives playwright Frederick Knott's riveting drama about a woman who employs her own sightlessness to outwit a bunch of hapless crooks... Wait Until Dark premiered on Broadway in 1966 and starred the late, great Lee Remick. It was turned into a brilliant film which showcased the striking vulnerability of Audrey Hepburn. And only five years ago it was back in New York starring Marisa Tomei and none other than Hollywood film-maker extraordinaire Quentin Tarantino. Directed by Joe Harmston, Bill Kenwright's new West End production only serves to underline this enjoyable play's remarkable durability. Go to the Garrick and I guarantee you will never use that phrase 'the blind leading the blind' again." The Daily Mirror
"This thriller by Frederick Knott - he also wrote Dial M For Murder - is back in London for the first time since its premiere in 1966 starring Honor Blackman. Things have moved on. What was once a thriller now seems partly farce. But you know what? It still works. Peter Bowles stars as Roat, the sinister criminal who torments Susy. She's a young blind woman living in a Notting Hill flat, efficiently played by Saskia Wickham in a frightful Sixties dress (it is set in period), whose husband has unwittingly brought back a doll stuffed with heroin from Amsterdam... I can't think of any other shows in which the climax between victim and killer is illuminated only by the light of an open fridge. I won't tell you what happens but the barnstorming old Bowles is your reason to check out this deliciously creepy Sixties chiller." The Daily Express
"The play is a period piece, with a plot that creaks rather more than the flat's floorboards, and it starts terribly slowly. It gradually exerts a grip, however, and the last half-hour, much of it played in the dark or semi-dark, is agreeably scary. Some of the excitement depends on minute domestic arrangements, which suddenly assume life-or-death importance, but the key ingredient is a brilliant performance from Peter Bowles as Roat. He's soft, sadistic, polite, implacable, the stuff of bad dreams. Saskia Wickham plays Susy: her ability to register terror doesn't equal Bowles' ability to create it, but she is sturdy and sympathetic." Sunday Telegraph
"It's a period piece, perhaps even a museum piece, with a plot that hovers between the impossibly contrived and the ingenious, and could, of course, never have been written once the mobile telephone had been invented. I'm not sure what it's doing in the West End, apart from reminding us of the days of yore, for while Joe Harmston's production is perfectly competent on a fun Sixties set, I was absorbed rather than scared stiff... After a slightly protracted set-up, the play reaches its raison d'etre: Susy plunges the room into darkness, leaving the sinister Mr Roat (Peter Bowles in entertainingly hammy mode) as blind as she is, scrabbling on the floor for the knife he calls Geraldine. Creepy, but well past its view-by date." The Mail on Sunday
Wait Until Dark in London at the Garrick Theatre previewed from 30 September 2003, opened on 15 October 2003 and closed on 13 December 2003.