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WLS Review: "The Pride"

"The Pride," currently playing at The Lucille Lortel Theatre in New York, tells the story of the complex love triangle that Oliver, Philip, and Sylvia are struggling with in 1958 and 2008.

The plot, set in the United Kingdom, goes back and forth between the two time periods starting in 1958 where Philip (Hugh Dancy) and Sylvia (Andrea Riseborough) are a married couple that seem picture perfect on the outside. When Sylvia brings her boss, Oliver (Ben Whishaw), home for cocktails and to meet her husband, we slowly come to suspect that Philip has been struggling with his desires for men for a long time.

The next scene features a funny scene with a man in a Nazi officer uniform shouting "Lick my boots" at the semi-nude 2008 version of Oliver, a sexually active journalist, recently broken up with his boyfriend of two years, and ready to experiment with role-playing. Oliver's willingness to experiment, along with a compulsion to satisfy every man who comes his way, is the reason that the 2008 Philip has left him. Sylvia in 2008 is the best friend of Oliver.

Back in 1958 Philip and Oliver begin an affair that ultimately leads to shocking consequences while Riseborough plays the role of the wife who knows her husband is gay but doesn't want it to be true perfectly. Philip ultimately goes to see a therapist to be "cured" of being gay. He forces him to look at pictures of Oliver then taking medication that makes him vomit. Supposedly the association will rid him of his desires.

The 1958 plot was a bit more defined and enjoyable than 2008, but all three leads were outstanding and played very distinctly different characters with the same names in both eras. The play contrasts very well the social mores of the different time periods and while the ending left a bit to be desired, it's a thoughtful script produced very well.

Here is the S.A.S.S. [Short Attention Soap Summary]

WHAT: "The Pride," penned by Alexi Kaye Campbell and directed by Joe Mantello, currently playing at the Lucille Lortel Theatre through March 20, 2010.

WHY SOAP FANS WILL LOVE IT: Soap fans that have watched their favorite shows for decades and seen the social mores of society change will especially love the contrast in this play. But fans of all ages will enjoy the dramatic tension, humor and sentimentality of Campbell's script and the wonderful performances by the cast.

BOTTOM LINE: If you enjoy seeing complex characters dealing with soapy problems - forbidden love, promiscuity, fear, self-loathing, growing up, broken relationships - this would be an excellent show for you.

VERDICT: Take pride in knowing your money was well spent on an afternoon or evening performance of "The Pride."

Click here for tickets to "The Pride."

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