“Edgar Allan Poe and the songs of Alan Hull. What’s not to like, eh?” Him Indoors was not impressed by my offer of tickets for Clear White Light at Live Theatre. I thought seeing the play would be the perfect birthday present for this longtime Lindisfarne fan.
He said, “It won’t be Alan Hull singing the songs so what’s the point in going?”
I could see what he was getting at. I’ve seen countless musicians murder Alan’s songs in pubs across Tyneside over the years. Still, the idea of Alan blended with his hero Edgar Allan appealed. I bought the darn tickets and we saw the light during Clear White Light last night.
The play is billed as “a modern gothic story” and it’s set in St Nicholas Hospital in Gosforth, just north of Newcastle’s city centre. This Victorian building, nicknamed (ha!) St Nicks, has been a hospital for the mentally ill for most of its life. Lindisfarne’s Alan Hull worked at St Nicks for a time and apparently wrote his classic Lady Eleanor during one of his shifts.
Clear White Light was written by Olivier Award nominated Paul Sirett with musical direction and live performance by Ray Laidlaw and Billy Mitchell. The musicians are joined onstage by actors and actor/musicians including Joe Caffrey, Bryony Corrigan and Charlie Hardwick.
Him Indoors was in shock at half time: “It’s amazing. I didn’t think anyone could sing those songs but Charlie’s made them her own,” he enthused. He’s right. Every aspect of Clear White Light worked for us. Charlie’s world class performance was matched by a tight script, marvellous music, strong performances, stunning set design, perfect lighting and flawless production There were tears in our eyes when we stood for the ovation.
Afterwards Him Indoors collared Charlie in the bar and reminded her about her time working at Wallsend’s late lamented arts centre, The Buddle. That old arts centre is part of Geordie culture, just like Lindisfarne, Charlie and Live Theatre. Go and treat yourself with tickets for Clear White Light before it ends on Sat 10th November.