Review Roundup: THE PRIDE at Trafalgar Transformed
Jamie Lloyd's revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell's THE PRIDE opened on 13 August 2013 at the Trafalgar Studios and runs through 9 November 2013. It stars Hayley Atwell, Mathew Horne, Harry Hadden-Paton and Al Weaver.
Let's see what the critics had to say:
Michael Coveney of whatsonstage.com writes: This witty protest against President Putin's law to suppress so-called gay propaganda in Moscow is all the more effective following a play that is discreet, humane, non-doctrinaire and also funny about matters of sexual shame, anguish and deception in all our adult lives.
Henry Hitchings of the Evening Standard says: The Pride is a poignant study of lost souls, betrayal and the problems of self-knowledge. It's easily pigeonholed as a 'gay play', but that feels patronising. Alexi Kaye Campbell has crafted an elegant and thoughtful drama, and five years on from its Royal Court premiere it merits this stylish West End production as part of Jamie Lloyd's impressive Trafalgar Transformed season.
Michael Billington of the Guardian says: But Campbell's play is far more than propaganda: it's a work of art that juxtaposes scenes from the repressive 1950s with others from the more liberated, but still imperfect, present. In the past we are confronted by a tortuous emotional triangle: Philip (Harry Hadden-Paton) is an estate agent married to Sylvia (Hayley Atwell), but guiltily attracted to Oliver (Al Weaver), the writer whose books his wife is illustrating. In the present, the names are the same, but the characters are different: the modern Oliver is a freelance journalist in danger of wrecking his relationship with Philip through his addiction to anonymous sex, and constantly turning to his friend Sylvia for support.
Paul Taylor of the Independent writes: For if gay marriage has been legalised here since the piece was premiered at the Royal Court's Theatre Upstairs, the stepped-up persecution of homosexuals in many other parts of world underline how the fight against virulent prejudice is far from over. When the cast of Jamie Lloyd's beautifully acted production appear holding placards that proclaim "To Russia With Love" at the curtain call, the gesture has the whole weight behind it of this thoughtful and thought-provoking drama about the struggle that generations of gay men and women have had to wage in order to achieve a sense of self-worth.
Robert Shore of Metro says: Kaye Campbell has a fine ear for period dialogue: in the 1950s scenes, this allows him to write lines that both glitter with surface brilliance and groan with abysses of repressed feeling. He also teases out some intriguing continuities between the two periods, not least in the part played by Sylvia (Hayley Atwell), Philip's wife in the 1950s and Oliver's best friend in the present. The result is a deeply resonant drama that's rich in ambiguities and unresolved issues.