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The blinding truth is Crystal Clear



Review by Emma Whitelaw

SOMETIMES it takes courage to acknowledge and accept reality. Other times it jumps up and bites you on the arse. The latter being the case for Richard, the hapless protagonist in Phil Young’s award-winning Crystal Clear now playing at the Landor Theatre.

Mat Betteridge gives an excellent performance as Richard. His portrayal is both tender and believable. Suffering from a severe case of diabetes both his health and his relationship with long-term girlfriend Jane falters. Richard finds solace from his troubles in the company of a beautiful blind woman, Thomasina.

Camilla Simson is excellent as Richard’s blossoming love interest. She has a wondrously calming effect on him. In stark contrast to this lies Richard’s relationship with Jane, played by Eve-Marie Akers.

Jane constantly nags Richard and, as a consequence, Richard retreats further and further from the feelings they once shared. As the play progresses, it becomes obvious that Richard hasn’t the decency to let the poor girl go. He strings her along and sends her to the brink of insanity.

The demise of Richard and Jane’s relationship coincides with the state of Richard’s health. It is almost as though subconsciously Richard has lost faith in both and chooses apathy as the norm.

As time passes, Richard becomes debilitated further by his disease and must confront the harsh reality that he, too, has lost his sight.

Cleverly written, Crystal Clear is a passionate and intense story. An insightful piece, it is a sharp study of the experience of blindness.

It is little wonder then that it won Phil Young the most promising playwright award at the Evening Standard theatre awards in 1983.

Crystal Clear by Phil Young. Directed by Carmen Betteridge, produced by Phil Matcham. Starring Mat Betteridge, Camilla Simson and Eve-Marie Akers. Jue 21 – 25 at Landor Theatre, 70 Landor Road, Clapham, London SW9 9PH. Box Office 020 7737 7276. AND August 23 – 29 at Greyfriars Kirk House Studio 2, 86 Candlemaker Row, Edinburgh EH1 2QA. Box Office 08452262721.

 

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