West End revival of The Pride 'sensitive' and 'engrossing'
Trafalgar Studios brings Alexi Kaye Campbell's wise, tender play about sexuality to a wider audience
What you need to know A revival of Alexi Kaye Campbell's drama The Pride has opened at the Trafalgar Studios, London. The play, which premiered at the Royal Court in 2008, receives a West End production as part of Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed season.
The story follows twin love triangles, one in 1958, another in the present. Both involve two gay men and a straight woman - Philip, Oliver and Sylvia. Their changing roles across time reflect the shift in attitudes towards homosexuality.
Hayley Atwell (Life of Crime) plays Sylvia, a long-suffering 1950s wife, and a modern-day confidante to her gay friend. Harry Hadden-Paton plays Philip, Sylvia's repressed husband, and Al Weaver his illicit lover Oliver in the 50s. The two men become an unhappy gay couple in the present. Until 9 November.
What the critics like Lloyd's sensitive revival of this "wise, searching play" explores changing attitudes to sexuality, fidelity and identity, says Sarah Hemming in the Financial Times. And while The Pride focuses on the experience of gay men, its deepest concerns - loneliness, self-knowledge and emotional integrity - are universal.
This is an "engrossing production of a rich and ingeniously wrought work", says Sam Marlowe in The Times. It's a tender, intelligent examination of the complexities of intimate connection, and the performances are impeccable.
"Though piercingly painful at times, this is a fine and compassionate drama," says Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph. With this excellent revival, the play should now reach the wider audience it richly deserves.
What they don't like At its best this is a potent play, but "the tensions are more compelling in the Fifties scenes", says Henry Hitchings in the Evening Standard. And sometimes the writing feels sophisticated rather than complex. ·