Alexi Kaye Campbell's debut play, The Pride examines changing attitudes to sexuality between the late 1950s and the first decade of the subsequent millennium. It was first performed at the Royal Court Theatre in the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs on 21 November 2008.
The action of the play is set in two time periods, 1958 and 2008, which interrelate in several ways, most obviously through the characters: in each period there is an Oliver, a Philip and a Sylvia, all in their mid-thirties, and each played by the same actor in both periods.
The 1958 Philip is a well-heeled estate agent married to Sylvia, a children’s writer. However, when Sylvia invites her illustrator, Oliver, over for dinner there is an immediate attraction between the two men. Philip is both drawn to and repelled by Oliver’s advances, aware that his whole identity may be at stake should his true feelings be known. In 2008, the names are the same but Philip and Oliver are this time in a relationship, which has been damaged by Oliver’s addiction to anonymous sex. Sylvia is the friend to whom they turn for comfort.
The Royal Court premiere was directed by Jamie Lloyd, with JJ Feild as Philip, Bertie Carvel as Oliver, Lyndsey Marshal as Sylvia and the remaining parts played by Tim Steed. The designer was Soutra Gilmour. It won an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre. The play won the John Whiting Award in 2009 and Alexi Kaye Campbell won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright.
The Pride received its American premiere at the Lucille Lortel Theatre, produced by MCC Theater, on 27 January 2010 in a production directed by Joe Mantello, with Hugh Dancy as Philip, Ben Whishaw as Oliver, Andrea Riseborough as Sylvia and the remaining parts played by Adam James.
The play was revived at the Sheffield Crucible Studio in June 2011 in a production directed by Richard Wilson. It was again revived at the Trafalgar Studios in the West End in August 2013, in a production also directed by Jamie Lloyd and designed by Soutra Gilmour.