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The Pride

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“I felt that I had a pride… A pride for the person I was.”

With the issue of gay marriage such a poignant topic across the globe, it seems a fitting time for Red Stitch to bring the Australian premiere of the The Pride to Melbourne. The play’s recent run in London earned it the Laurence Oliver Award.

The Pride swings between two storylines – one set in modern day and another in the 1950’s. The play includes two sets of an Oliver, Phillip and Sylvia in each thread.

The play begins in the 1950’s with an encounter between Oliver and Philip. Oliver, a writer, has been working with Phillip’s wife Sylvia, a former actor turned housewife. She has been providing illustrations for Oliver’s book and invited him over for dinner.

The dialogue between the two men is odd. Short quips are thrown between them like a game of tennis and it isn’t long before Sylvia’s long held suspicions about her husband’s sexuality arise.

The modern day storyline presents a very different story. The 21st century Oliver is a mess, lamenting the breakup with his partner Phillip, who has left him after numerous acts of infidelity. Sylvia, now a mutual friend of the two, is a shoulder to cry on for Oliver.

While as a society we may have a ways to go in terms of acceptance and equality of sexual preference, The Pride shows how far we have come. In the 1950’s thread, it is clear to see that for Philip self acceptance is not an option. Ultimately taking unthinkable measures to keep an idyllic dream, even as it crumbles around him.

A cast of four characters create The Pride. Ben Geurens as Oliver seems perfectly suited to his role with great physicality and emotional expression. Ngaire Dawn Fair playing Sylvia and Lyall Brooks as Phillip show great adaptability between their contrasting roles. Ben Prendergast, playing a everything from doctor to magazine editor also deserves a mention for some fine acting and providing a lot of the laughs.

Does The Pride live up to the hype it received overseas? Yes, both threads were excellently performed, although perhaps the cast seemed a little more at ease in the modern setting. Recommended.

The Pride is playing at Red Stitch Actors Theatre until August 18.
For more information and tickets visit redstitch.net.


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