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Review: Crystal Clear, at Old Red Lion Theatre

01 August, 2019 — By Caitlin Allen

Gareth Kennerley in Crystal Clear. Photo: Lidia Crisafulli

DESCRIBED by critics as “a fierce punch to the solar plexus” following its premiere at the Old Red Lion in 1982, Crystal Clear returns to the same intimate venue, and 27 years on the description remains just as fitting.

White Deer Theatre’s revived version of Crystal Clear is raw, unsettling and deeply moving.

Gareth Kennerley plays Richard, a young man with diabetes, who is losing his sight. We witness him consumed with rage, loss and fear as he struggles to come to terms with his encroaching blindness. And in the self-destruction that follows, we watch as both of the intimate relationships in his life unravel.

The performance provides deep insight into what it means to inhabit the world in the absence of perhaps our most precious sense. We bear witness to the struggles that come with visual impairment.

The three-person play, devised by Phil Young, addresses the fundamental need for human connection but also questions how two blind people can survive together in a world made for the sighted.

The Old Red Lion has a reputation for staging challenging, ambitious work that connects us to communities rarely given the opportunity to be seen on stage.

And this play fits their agenda perfectly.

As one would expect given the subject, measures have been taken to ensure the performance is accessible to the blind. Features such as pre-show touch tours are available and an audio description runs throughout, detailing any non-verbal actions.

The cast includes visually impaired actor Gillian Dean and there will be talks held on topics such as access and representation in theatre.

Until August 17
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