Premiered at The Live Theatre, ‘Clear White’ is a dazzling updating, and localisation, of Edgar Allen Poe’s short ‘The fall of the house of usher’, telling the story of Alison, a slightly scared, slightly neurotic, student nurse on her first evening shift at Gosforth’s St Nicholas’s hospital.
Powerfully written by Paul Sirett, and set in a spooky, and deliberately gothic, staging, ‘Clear’, with it’s tales of family loss, is ultimately, a metaphor about the powers of love and grief, and the difficulties we face when moving forward from heart-break. Emotive and challenging, ‘Clear’ succeeds not only by presenting the audience with fresh ways to consider the inevitability of the aging process, and the realities that everyone we love will die, but also as a vehicle for transporting the works of Alan Hull into the present.
Noted at the time of Lindisfarne’s debut works as the greatest songwriter since Dylan, ‘Clear’ is a perfect foil for Hull’s narratives, themselves introvert stories about love, loss and redemption, used most eloquently with tear jerkers ‘Lady Eleanor’ and ‘January song’. Finale piece ‘Clear white light’ with it’s full-cast multi-harmony delivery, shines both in itself and as part of Sirett’s ability to have created a tension between personal stories, gothic themes, and the very northern trait of finding humour in the darkest of moments.
Supported by Lindisfarne past members Ray Laidlaw, and Billy Mitchell, ‘Clear’, in both it’s story and it’s presentation of Alan Hull’s work, is a powerful reminder of the haunting power of memories and the ghosts of people who stay young as we age. Brilliant.