In Praise of The Pride (with Bertie Carvel, Ben Whishaw, Daniel Evans, Hugh Dancy and more)

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride came back to London last week, timeless, tender, profound and this time unexpectedly topical: the play coincided with protests for Putin’s anti-gay russian laws.

It’s a rare modern play that I remember so many of its past productions: Although aware of the glowing word of mouth I missed the first production in 2008 at the Royal Court and I regret it ever since. Among other things, I had to wait for Almeida’s The Rope several months later to discover Bertie Carvel for myself. And in a case of ex post facto typecasting (I always wanted to use latin in my writing), I always thought that Bertie Carvel played Philip, while in fact he was Oliver.

JJ Field (Philip) and Bertie Carvel (Oliver) in the 1950s. Photo Tristram Kenton

JJ Feild (Philip) and Bertie Carvel (Oliver) in the 1950s. Photo Tristram Kenton

Every time I go to revstan’s flat, Continue reading

Review: Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride, at Trafalgar studios

Al Weaver (Oliver) and Harry Hadden Paton (Philip). Photo: Marc Brenner

Al Weaver (Oliver) and Harry Hadden Paton (Philip). Photo: Marc Brenner

After several years of obsessive theatregoing, I have seen my fair share of modern classics being born. There is no thrill like watching a preview of a great new play and seeing the possibilities before anyone else, knowing this secret before it’s revealed to the world. Then, there are the ones that got away: Alexi Kaye Campbell’s The Pride premiered at the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs in November 2008, and although my friends were raving about it, I never managed to see that production. It doesn’t help that the month’s run at the 80 seats theatre sold out very quickly, especially after reviews were out. Alexi Kaye Campbell went to win The Critics’ Circle Prize for Most Promising Playwright, the play had productions off broaddway and elsewhere in the world before coming back to Sheffield, where I managed to catch up with it for the first time. What a revelation that was.

For all its intricate structure (two timelines criss-crossing) and its bigger theme (human rights we take for granted, all the things we have yet to achieve), The Pride is painfully and joyfully about people. It has a skin on skin quality, the characters – all fully fledged and gloriously flawed – have desires and make choices to break your heart. Continue reading