Theatre Review: “The Pride”
“Is that the spoonful of sugar?”
Alexi Kaye Campbell’s “The Pride,” centers around the diverse, interpersonal relationships between a trio of Londoners. The action switches back and forth between 1958 and 2008 and highlights the change in attitude towards sex and sexual preference that has taken place over those 50 years.
In the first scenario, set in 1958, Philip and Sylvia, played by Nicholas Aliff and Stacie Rearden Hall, are a married couple whose passion has begun to dwindle and they have become quite cold to one another. Oliver, played by Stevie Rice, writes children’s books and has commissioned Sylvia to illustrate his most recent publication. The three have a bit of a tense meeting, as Philip obviously feels uncomfortable around Oliver and later we come to find that a love affair has complicated the trio’s relationship.
In the second scenario, set 50 years later, Philip and Oliver are a gay couple who very recently broke up, due to Philip’s discovery of Oliver’s extreme promiscuity, and Sylvia is their very good friend. At the same time that Oliver is going through a period of self discovery and heartache, Sylvia is deliriously happy with her new beau. But never allowing Oliver to self destruct, she takes care of him and eventually plans a way to get Oliver and Philip to meet again on friendly terms.
Stevie Rice is beyond amazing as the naïve Oliver who just so desperately wants to be accepted and loved. His performance is at times positively heartbreaking and you have a connection with his character right from the beginning; he absolutely hooks you. Nicholas Aliff has taken on a rather tough role as Philip and his performance is chilling as the 1958 Philip yet very likable as 2008’s version, really highlighting Aliff’s ability to split up and fully develop the personalities of the two characters. Stacie Rearden Hall is captivating, hilarious, sensitive and beguiling as Sylvia; I couldn’t take my eyes off her. Evan Nasteff also lends a hand playing several supporting characters and offers the perfect punctuation to the many difficult and emotional scenes in the play. All of the actor’s accents were on-point thanks to dialect coach Susan Schuld.
“The Pride” is a play with many layers, complex and cyclical; my companion and I continued our discussion of what we had just seen well into the night. Expertly directed by Jason Campbell, all of the actors are equally talented with none outshining the other, allowing the audience to be able to fully focus on the story being told. The set by T. Ross Aitken translated well in both storylines even though they are set 50 years apart. A nice added touch was a projector that would flash different London scenes on the backdrop that corresponded to the year when the action was taking place. While this served as a nice transition between scenes, the big gray screen in the back was a bit stark when nothing was projected on it, causing the set to look a bit empty. David White’s lighting is fantastic, perfectly transitioning between scenes and dividing the action on stage.
“The Pride” is playing at Richmond Triangle Players through April 27th.
www.rtriangle.org for information and ticket prices.
Jen Maciulewicz is theatre critic for GAYRVA.com and is a Richmond local. Jen attended VCU and holds a B.S. in Anthropology. She has starred as Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes" and attended VCU’s School of Music. Follow Jen on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jenlaumac.
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