I was delighted to get my hands on the review tickets for The Questors’ latest production, The Pride – strong contemporary drama by award winning playwright Alexi Kaye Campbell.
Once again, The Questors have managed to completely pull the rug from under me and the rest of the audience and keep us on edge till the very end.
The play alternates between two eras – 1958 and 2008. The 3 main characters have the same names.
In 1958, Philip, the unfulfilled estate agent, is married to a former actress Sylvia who is illustrating a children’s book written by Oliver. When Philip and Oliver get introduced, something weird happens that evening and changes their lives forever.
In 2008, Oliver is a journalist who has a sexual addiction and keeps cheating on his boyfriend Philip. However, when Philip dumps Oliver, Oliver realises he is in love and is determined to change. He has a very good friend Sylvia for support.
Director, David Emmet, has done a brilliant job. This is his 53rd production!
The performance is staged cleverly so it doesn’t obstruct the view from any angle, and all the action happens right at the audience’ s feet creating a feeling of intimacy and involvement.
Without a doubt, the actors deliver. The 1958 Oliver’s [Joel Dyer] awkwardness is very believable and his performance is at its best when things get very intense later on. Oliver 2008 is shallow and funny but is also a “lost soul” which is portrayed beautifully.
Philip 1958 turns out to be a very dark and sad man, and the actor Richard Graylin understands his struggles very well.
David Hovatter is a big hit with the audience. He plays three very different characters and interchanges seamlessly between the roles.
At first, he is a rent boy, playing a Nazi in 2008. Later he is a doctor in 1958 who provides barbaric aversion therapy to “cure” homosexuals, and a shallow chauvinistic editor of a lads magazine.
Our favourite is Sylvia played by Nina Flitman. Sylvia 1958 is anxious and lonely. She has trouble conceiving and suffers from depression. We loved Nina’s elegance and vulnerability.
Sylvia 2008 is an eternal optimist, enthusiast and a free spirit. Thanks to Nina’s angle and skill, we can’t help but like her. Her dialogues with Oliver are hilarious, and Bridget Jones springs to mind for some reason.
It may well be that I have been watching too much CBeebies recently, but this production has affected me greatly and brought out a whole range of emotions. Some scenes were so brutal, I had to close my eyes.
There were so many questions raised in my head but there were no right answers. Fast forward 50 years, and we bang on how the society has come so far. Have we really? Have we learned much at all?
Has Oliver’s quality of life really changed for the better? He seems just as confused and miserable. Sylvia 1958 tells us about her friend Richard who had killed himself – perhaps, Oliver would too if it wasn’t for his very loyal friend Sylvia 2008 who always put their friendship first?
His struggle can’t be down to simply too much casual sex and addiction. Surely his complex troubled soul must be shaped by people like the editor who live in the MODERN 2008 world?
The recommended age is 16 years+. It would be great to see more young people in the audience. The theme is very relevant, the tickets and drinks are cheap, so it’s a no brainer really.
Mums and Dads – entice your teenagers into giving this production and Questors Theatre a go. We need those revolutionary minds of Ealing!
Performances 2, 3, 6-10 May at 7.45pm; 4 May at 2.30pm
Tickets £13.00 (£12.00 conc, £7.00 under-16/student), final Fri/Sat £15.00 (£14.00 conc, £8.00 under-16/student)