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After a limited run in 2008, Alexi Kaye Campbell’s award-winning debut play finally makes it to the West End, completely recast but skilfully directed once again by Jamie Lloyd as part of his Trafalgar Transformed season.

It initially played in the small space of the Royal Court Upstairs, and Lloyd has wisely kept the intimate feel, restricting the playing area to a raised platform backed by a tarnished mirror.

What initially appears to be a stylish 50’s drawing room drama (think Terence Rattigan) soon develops into something far more ambitious and thought-provoking as it switches seamlessly between the past and the present day, with different versions of an Oliver, a Sylvia and a Philip appearing both in 1958 and fifty years later.

Things have changed significantly even in the last 5 years, but it’s devastating to see estate agent Philip (a deeply troubled Harry Hadden-Paton)  and his lonely book illustrator wife Sylvia (Hayley Atwell)  emotionally destroyed by his desperation to quell the irrepressible homosexual tendencies aroused when she introduces him to her colleague, gentle children’s author Oliver (Al Weaver).

Five decades down the track, and sexual freedom comes with its own consequences – promiscuous, gay, freelance journalist Oliver’s addiction to anonymous encounters has ruined his relationship with Philip, the man he loves. And best friend and confidante, actress Sylvia, is there to pick up the pieces whilst pursuing a busy sex life of her own.

Mathew Horne contributes a trio of memorable cameos  (from a pissed-off rent boy to a psychiatrist offering aversion therapy via a lad’s mad editor) and, as a reminder that homophobia is far from eradicated in 2013, the excellent cast take the curtain call bearing placards with the words “To Russia, With Love”   writ large.

Trafalgar Studios
Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
Tube | Charing Cross
£24.50 - £54.5
thepridewestend.com


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The Pride - theatre review: Award-winning debut play now on at Trafalgar Studios, London
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