Week Two Reviews – The Pride

 ‘The Pride’ – actor-turned-playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell’s 2008 debut – explores two sets of triangular relationships, ebbing and flowing between 1958 and 2008. It shimmers with humour on the surface but its exploration of emotional isolation, closeted gay love and the implications of longed-for ‘liberation’ is what gives this work its potency.
In the 1950s, ‘Philip’ is an estate agent married to ‘Sylvia’,  but wracked with guilt because of his attraction to ‘Oliver’. The names remain the same in 2008 where present-day ‘Oliver’ risks his relationship with boyfriend ‘Philip’ due to his addiction to anonymous sex, while continually turning to his confidant ‘Sylvia’ for advice – which he duly ignores.
Irish theatre company Anseo-Anois deliver a riveting production.  Australian director (Emma Dargan-Reid) and her cast are all alumni of Dublin’s Lir Academy…. and it shows! Benedict Landsbert-Noon is simply magnetic throughout, quite beautifully accentuating the woundedness of each ‘Oliver’, but bringing acute comic timing to his 2008 character. He is orbited by very fine turns from Amy Kidd, Barry Simpson and Ben Waddell – each relishing their double-cast roles as they impressively shift from the parched undertones of the 1950s to the overtly, sexual-charged chaos of the progressive Noughties.
Dargan-Reid’s direction ably sustains the momentum of this full-length production with flair. Chris Merton (sound) and Iris Liange (set and lighting) elevate the contemplative undertones. This staging of ‘The Pride’ is a rare opportunity to catch this clever, time-shifting piece which still speaks volumes in the present day. The opening night audience were up on their feet.  Now in its 21st year, how marvellous to see the International Dublin Gay Theatre Festival continuing to serve up theatrical gems like this.  AH Nightly until Saturday at 7.30pm and Saturday matinée at 2.30pm. Full length play with interval. Teachers Club, Main Hall.


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