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THE PRIDE at Trafalgar Studios

September 3, 2013

Alexi Kaye Campbell‘s 2008 play THE PRIDE is an impressive attempt to capture the sad truth regarding the lives of most homosexuals in the not too distant past in Britain and most unfortunately in most of the world today. The play tells the story of the same two men in love and a woman in 1958 and in 2008 switching between the two settings. This is cleverly done with a simple mirror backed set.

I was thoroughly convinced by the 1958 setting and felt the cruel oppressive nature of society and the desperation of those two men simply seeking an intimacy that was classified as an illness and a crime. I also felt for the poor woman played by Hayley Atwell who was in a loveless marriage as her husband played chillingly by Harry Hadden-Paton desperately tried to suppress his homosexual nature and live a “normal” establishment life. Al Weaver was simply tremendous as the torch bearer who fell in love with a man and made every effort to live an honest life. The 1958 setting was written and played very well.

The 2008 setting did not work as well for me. I did not like the more stereotypical role models of two gays in relationship crisis and their fag hag female friend saving the day. I don’t think the actors were as comfortable in these less well written 2008 roles as their 1958 roles. Mathew Horne plays two supporting characters in this 2008 setting and as stand alone performances they were brilliant but more suited to the type of TV sketch show than this play. Although very funny they further diminished my belief in the characters and the action taking place in 2008 and for me prevented the two parts making a whole play.

Definitely worth seeing.

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