Crystal Clear returns to Old Red Lion

London theatre news: Wednesday 19 June 2019

Drama - London Fringe - Shows

A revival of the critically acclaimed play, CRYSTAL CLEAR, devised by Phil Young, will return to its UK home - The Old Red Lion (where it first opened in 1982) - from July 23 until August 17.
Crystal Clear at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Image by Lidia Crisafulli

Devised by Phil Young through improvisation with the original cast, Crystal Clear premiered at The Old Red Lion Theatre in 1982 before transferring to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre in 1983.

Mr Young went on to direct a television adaptation which aired on BBC One in June 1988.

Now, coinciding with The Old Red Lion's 40th year anniversary, this important piece of theatre returns to the venue where it first debuted with a run from 23 July to 17 August.

With just one act and three actors, Crystal Clear is a raw and humbling examination of loss and our attempts to cope with it, exploring both human selfishness and our fundamental need for connection.

It is both a delicate study of experiences of blindness and a vicious picture of love undone by fear and self-destruction.

The script offers a fearless attempt to tackle difficult themes around blindness and disability.

In reviving Crystal Clear, White Deer Theatre hope to crack open conversations around access and visual impairment, focussing on how our understanding of these issues has changed since the play's first outing.

To this end, visually impaired actor Gillian Dean is cast as Thomasina and access consultant Amelia Cavallo is advising on accessibility, including audio description, touch tours, set, lighting, and sound design throughout the process.

All performances of Crystal Clear will be accessible for visually impaired audience members, with audio description narrated live by the cast.

This approach will make description an integral part of the performance - rather than something hidden behind a pair of headphones - creating a shared experience for sighted and visually impaired audiences.

Pre-show touch tours will also be available to access ticket holders for every performance.

In order to further engage the blind and partially sighted community around the contentious and much-discussed questions that the play raises, writers of all levels of experience will be offered the opportunity to attend the previews and write a rapid response.

These response pieces, involving as many visually impaired creatives as possible, will be developed into short plays across ten days and performed in a scratch performance on 3 August.

There will also be a post-show panel discussion on 6 August looking at "Access and representation in theatre: successes and remaining challenges", with additional topics planned for further into the run.

Show listing information


Richard - a young man with diabetes - is struggling.

As his health and relationship with long-term partner Jane deteriorate, he looks for comfort in the calming company of Thomasina, a poised and enigmatic blind woman.

When Richard abruptly loses his own sight, however, his intense but ill-fated connection with the serene Thomasina takes a tragic turn, and the two must confront the question of how their love survives in a world made for the sighted.

Crystal Clear is a raw and humbling examination of sudden loss and our attempts to cope with it.

It tells a story of love undone by fear and self-destruction, and exposes our fundamental need for human connection.


Richard: Gareth Kennerley

Thomasina: Gillian Dean

Jane: Rakhee Sharma


Author: Devised by Phil Young
Director: PJ Stanley
Designer: Luke W Robson
Lighting: Peter Small
Production: Pia-Ramona Wojtinnek; White Deer Theatre


Old Red Lion Theatre
418 St John Street


From: Tuesday 23 July 2019

Closed: Saturday 17 August 2019


Previews: £12.50 (23 and 24 July)

Standard: £17.50

Concessions: £15.50


Show website
ActDrop full listing for Crystal Clear

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