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Clear White Light
Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
JOE DOUGLAS, recently appointed artistic director at Live Theatre, makes a brilliant debut with his first production for the company.
Based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story The Fall of the House of Usher, and beautifully written for the stage by Olivier Award-nominated writer Paul Sirett, the play is inspired by the experience of Alan Hull, founder of 1970s folk-rock group Lindisfarne, and his time working in the psychiatric unit at St Nicholas’s Hospital in Gosforth.
Douglas’s direction deftly brings the story up to date and subtly but firmly confronts the current cuts and threats to the NHS, particularly in relation to the inadequacies of mental health provision.
Skilfully woven throughout the two acts are many of the hit songs Hull wrote at that time, including Winter Song, Lady Eleanor and Clear White Light. They’re all played by a cracking live band under the musical direction of former Lindisfarne band members Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell, with singer Charlie Hardwick on lead vocals simply stunning.
Of the two lead roles, Bryony Corrigan as Ali is more than sufficiently convincing to deflect the audience away from the final plot twist, while Joe Caffrey as Rod steals the show with an empathetic and warmly believable performance that makes you want to meet him afterwards for a pint.
A riveting piece of theatre that brings Lindisfarne’s incredible music to a new generation.
Runs until November 10, box office: live.org.uk
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