Review: Crystal Springs, Park Theatre

“Everything I did was to protect my daughter”

The world of cyber-bullying may be new and uncharted territory that parents have to delve into but Kathy Rucker’s Crystal Springs makes the case that it is vital that we as a society engage with it sooner rather than later for all our sakes. Of course bullying is nothing new but the way in which the available technology and the proliferation of the internet has transformed the way in which people relate to each other means that it has become far easier to make life-altering decisions.

Rucker’s play doesn’t have too much to say that is new or original in all honesty but its structure means that it takes a while for this to emerge and in the telling, it does fitfully engage. We start at the end, in the aftermath of a teen suicide and with the help of a journalist who has a book deal, we work backwards to discover the detail of a tragic tale of class conflict and jealousy in which the mothers are as much to blame as the daughters whose initially bright friendship becomes soured.

It is well performed to be sure – Lucy Roslyn’s conflicted journalist chasing the scoop but running from her own demons, the casual cruelty of bullies Mia and Jenna well essayed by Pearl Mackie and Tiana Khan, the tragic note of Rebecca Boey’s Hayley’s desperation truly affecting. But though the problems and horrible ease of online bullying are illuminated here, nothing else is, no possible solution or real insight emerges to accompany it and make it a play really worth listening to.

Running time: 80 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 31st August

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