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
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
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.