'Night Watch' gives audiences the willies

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By Sara Miller

It’s a chilly October night. Leaves blow outside, and shadows flit across a darkened stage. Or were they only shadows? Creaks and groans fill Center/Stage. Is it just the old building settling? Or is something lurking across the way?

There’s nothing better than a cold autumn evening to set the mood for a suspense thriller. And there’s nothing better than the Evergreen Players’ latest production of “Night Watch” to leave you looking over your shoulder with fear and delight.

On the surface, “Night Watch” is a murder mystery that deals with Elaine Wheeler (Lisa DeCaro), a neurotic woman who suffers from insomnia and delusions. Elaine is married to John Wheeler (Andy Anderson), a Wall Street tycoon. They live in an upscale loft filled with expensive paintings in New York City. Elaine, an only child, inherited a fortune from her father and her first husband, Carl.

The Wheeler home includes the maid Helga (Kathleen Davis) and Elaine’s best friend and nurse, Blanche Cooke (Janelle Christie). The next-door neighbor Appleby (Bob Leggett) is an editor of a local newspaper.

As the play opens, Elaine screams as she sees a bloodstained body seated in a wingback chair in a burned-out tenement across the way. She urges her husband to call the police. Later, Elaine sees a dead woman in the same building.

The questions are many: Who did it? Is it an inside job? Or did anybody do anything? What is a husband to do with a crazy wife?

To reveal more of the plot would destroy the suspense of the mystery. Suffice it to say, “Night Watch” is packed with twists and turns that will have you on the edge of your seat to the final chilling surprise.

The director, Linda Suttle, is no stranger to mysteries. “Night Watch” is the third thriller that she has directed in recent years. Suttle also is no stranger to the Players’ stage. She played the Queen in the 2003 production of “Cinderella.” Suttle has also appeared in productions at Littleton’s Town Hall Arts Center, Country Dinner Playhouse and The Aurora Fox.

Throughout her 20 years on the Denver theater scene, Suttle has worked with some diverse casts and companies.

“It is always a pleasure to work with the Players. They are very supportive and so professional,” says Suttle. “And this cast is remarkable. I always believe that the best stuff happens when you let your actors play with the parts. It’s been fun to set this cast loose with such a gripping story and see how amazing the end results are.”

“Night Watch”

Presented by the Evergreen Players Oct. 17 through Nov. 9; Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

At Center/Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen

Tickets: adults, $18; seniors (60-plus) and students, $14; youths (12 and under),: $8

Come in costume on Halloween night and receive a pair of adult tickets for $25.

For more information, call 303-674-4934 or visit www.evergreenplayers.org.