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THEATER REVIEW : Secrets, Inconsistencies in 'Wait Until Dark' : Kim Little and Geoffrey Powers play the main roles quite well in the Thousand Oaks production.

June 22, 1995|TODD EVERETT | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Trapped in her apartment by a man who would kill for what he thinks that she's hiding, a blind woman is in deadly peril. That's the premise of Frederick Knott's thriller, "Wait Until Dark," currently at the Conejo Players Theater in Thousand Oaks.

Things aren't what they might at first seem, so we'll keep the play's secrets secret for the benefit of those who haven't seen it (or the 1967 film version). Suffice to say that the bad guy won't let anything get between him and the shipment of heroin that the woman's husband has inadvertently carried home to New York from Canada.

Susy is resourceful, however, and has her own way to one-up the villain: She works her blindness to her own favor, of course, and she's also privy to some kitchen chemistry worthy of TV's MacGyver--bet you couldn't have figured out what she knows can be done with ammonia and vegetable oil. Which is to say, don't look for tightly packed logic here, although the story makes enough sense to get by, and there's at least one gotcha! moment that causes most audiences to gasp out loud.

The two main roles are Susy and psychopathic villain Harry Roat. They're played by Kim Little and Geoffrey Powers, respectively, both quite well--although some might wonder about Roat's wandering accent. He is scary, though; of that, there's no doubt.

Other important roles are played by Christopher Liebe as Sgt. Carlino, Daniel Maxwell as Carlino's former associate and Jillian Bynes as the obnoxious 12-year-old who lives upstairs from Susy and her husband.

Not all of the acting is consistently strong, although the people who have to be exceptional are up to the task, and Bynes is particularly noteworthy.

Stuart Berg has designed quite an impressive Village apartment; Susy's husband, a photographer, must be doing pretty well. And Director Rick Steinberg handles the sometimes quite elaborate action well--a climactic scene takes place in pitch darkness.

In his effort to bring the 1965 play up-to-date, Steinberg has allowed some inconsistencies: Susy might have the last dial phone in Greenwich Village, and somebody's said to be driving a 1959 Pontiac--although there's mention of a computer and a couple of other '90s allusions. Nothing serious, here; just unnecessary.

Details

* WHAT: "Wait Until Dark."

* WHEN: 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays (closes July 22).

* WHERE: Conejo Players Theater, 351 S. Moorpark Road, Thousand Oaks.

* HOW MUCH: $8 (general admission Thursdays), $10 (Fridays), $12 (Saturdays).

* CALL: 495-3715.

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