by Alexi Kaye Campbell.
Trafalgar Studios (Studio 1) 14 Whitehall SW1A 2DY To 9 November 2013.
Mon-Sat 7.30pm Mat Thu & Sat 2.30pm.
Runs: 2hr 10min One interval.
TICKETS: 0844 871 7632.
Review: Carole Woddis 14 August.
Fine, and it turns out timely, revival of play well worth reviving.
Jamie Lloyd’s ‘Trafalgar Transformed’ season goes from strength to strength with this stylish, entirely timely revival of Alexi Kaye Cambell’s award-winning The Pride. First staged five years ago at the Royal Court Upstairs, when it was also directed by Lloyd, it went on to win several awards.
Since then Kaye Campbell’s promise has been confirmed with follow-up plays such as Apologia and The Faith Machine. But The Pride remains, thus far, probably his biggest success, an achievement likely to be repeated this time, not least because of its synchronicity.
Right on cue with Russia’s recent `gay promotion’ ban, Kaye Campbell’s contrasting look at homosexuality in the 1950s and today could have been written in answer to homophobes around the globe.
Impassioned, sparky and in its emotional eloquence very much echoing earlier writers such as Martin Sherman (with Bent, his play about homosexuals in Nazi Germany), Philip Osment and Noel Greig in their assertion of honesty in relationships and the courage it takes to follow the human heart, the structure and flavour of The Pride is, however, very much Kaye Campbell’s own. Even to the extent of creating a certain amount of confusion if you’re not aware of the time fracture, as characters with the same name – Oliver (Al Weaver), Philip (Harry Hadden-Paton) and Sylvia (Hayley Atwell) – float backwards and forwards between two generations fifty years apart, their later selves differentiated only by behaviour, dress and linguistic changes.
Lloyd’s `off-West End’ production provides a stellar quartet of performances (Matthew Horne joins the above trio playing a variety of cameos including a Nazi-dressed role-playing call-boy) on Soutra Gilmour’s stunning, Genet-esque, audience-reflecting burnished mirror set.
If The Pride strikes a note that still for some of us feels like a reworking of persuasive but now overlooked plays dating back over thirty years, the wit and honesty with which Kaye Campbell confronts contemporary questions of `progress’ and gay lifestyles, alongside the effect of repression with shock scenes of rape and description of `aversion therapy’, make it a more than welcome arrival at a time of shamefully increasing persecutions worldwide.
Sylvia/Sylvia: Hayley Atwell.
Philip/Philip: Harry Hadden-Paton.
Oliver/Oliver: Al Weaver.
Rent Boy/Editor/Psychiatrist: Matthew Horne.
Director: Jamie Lloyd.
Designer: Soutra Gilmour.
Lighting: Jon Clark.
Sound/Music: Ben and Max Ringham.
Voice Coach: Charmian Hoare.
Fight director: Kate Waters.
Associate director: Edward Stambollouian.
The Pride was first presented at the Royal Court Jerwood Theatre Upstairs in November 2008.
First performance of this production was at Trafalgar Studios 8 August 2013.