#HayleyAtwell and a superb cast bring @thepridewestend back to the London stage #theatre #review

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So last night was opening for the third installment of Trafalgar Transformed. Starring Hayley Atwell and Matthew Horne as two well known names that make up half the cast, The Pride is an award winning play directed by Jamie Lloyd.

It follows three people Oliver, Philip and Sylvia, who in two separate time periods (the 1950s and the present day) are all brought together in a complicated love triangle. The through riding theme is homosexuality and sexual liberation and not how the outside community deal with it, but how those directly involved approach their own complicated relationships given the attitudes and oppressions of their timeframes.Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 08.50.19

The play, cleverly intertwines between the two time periods; the future providing a more relatable and humorous approach, with a stronger message underlining.  Although billed as the lead role, Hayley Atwell plays second fiddle to the superb Al Weaver, who portrays Oliver, the only character in both periods who is happy to admit his sexuality and drives the experiences that occur. His sharp interchange between the two eras is the most challenging out of all the actors and he handles this with ease and gives the audience strong distinctions between his character of past and present. Atwell, is a superb support, as an audience member you relate strongly to her Sylvia of the 1950’s as its not far off to many period roles you have seen her on screen before. Bring her to present day though and you see Atwell embrace a more modern role which initially surprises the audience but also allows you to warm to her.

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Harry Hadden-Paton who plays Philip is a more somber, cautious character, in the past he battles hiding his real sexuality behind a marriage, until Oliver comes into his life and in some respects brings him to life in his true form. However all the restraints of the 1950s causes inevitable turmoil and destruction and Philips wife Sylvia can only watch her marriage unravel. In present day Paton plays the estranged partner to Oliver and his infidelity and Paton plays a strong clear calming balance to Weaver’s much more flamboyant take.

The real stand out, is Matthew Horne, used sparingly as a variety of characters, Horne demonstrates his versatility as an actor from a Nazi dressing rent boy (which provides some much needed light relief) through to a cheeky chappy know-it-all but actually knows very little magazine editor. These characters may be written as relatively extreme in the script but his ease in transformation made you wait with baited breath for his next appearance.Screen Shot 2013-08-14 at 08.51.17

Alexi Kaye Campbell’s fantastic writing is brought to life brilliantly with the synced cast who deliver the quick pace with ease. You can see why this play was award winning when it first premiered at the Royal Court in 2008, it brings light and dark contrasts on the subject of sexual liberation and more importantly relationships, and has a fantastic cast to pull it off. If you can get yourself a ticket, are interested in the subject and love good theatre, then this is definitely one to watch.

4 Stars

You can purchase tickets for The Pride from its official website here

And follow @thepridewestend on Twitter

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@oldvictheatre ‘s New Triumph #theWinslowBoy #theatre #review

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Theatre goers, its a travesty that seats are being left empty for The Winslow Boy at The Old Vic. Having entered the theatre and not knowing what to expect, audiences of all walks of life will find themselves in fits of laughter during the comedic first half and welling up at some of its most poignant moments further in.

The Winslow Boy is the story of an Edwardian British household, who’s head, the father – Arthur Winslow, fights for the justice of his thirteen year old son who is accused of stealing a postal order whilst away at Naval College. Putting the rest of his family at risk in terms or reputation, money and lifestyle, it shows that even in the most trivial of circumstances which could easily be brushed under the carpet, one must fight for what is right and just, even if it means losing everything.

If carried out at the correct pace, and it was demonstrated so excellently here, then The Winslow Boy and indeed other Terrence Rattigan plays can beScreen Shot 2013-04-05 at 18.55.01 a delight. This roller coster of emotions plays out excellently here, with every character keeping their ‘stiff upper lip’ whilst fully aware of the consequences they face individually and as a family. Henry Goodman as Arthur Winslow is an excellent leader of this pack. Although riddled with gout and suffering arthritis, his sharp tongue and affectionate charisma towards his family and indeed the audience makes him a loveable central figure we can all relate to.

Naomi Frederick who plays Arthur’s daughter Catherine, demonstrates a strong yet relatable character, reminding us clearly and passionately of the struggles women faced in society at that time – her work with the suffragettes is regarded as pointless and with no sense of hope – she deals with the criticism of her standing with grace and dignity and Frederick manages balance a large array of emotions with effortless ease, making her a character with so many levels that the audience find her a joy to watch.

Screen Shot 2013-04-05 at 18.55.36All the actors in this production provide sterling performances, however, another standout worthy of mention is Charlie Rowe, the Winslow boy himself. It’s clear to see that this young actor has a bright future ahead of him. He treads the boards of the Old Vic with ease and experience beyond his years, with particular examples of excellence being his emotional reaction to Sir Robert Morton’s interrogation where  audience members feel so uncomfortable in their seats that they almost want to leap out of your seat and protect the poor boy.

Terrence Rattigan plays are full of fast paced, easy to listen conversations with subtle comedies about them which allow audiences of different generations to relate to and enjoy. For a cast to deliver this as it should be is no easy task, and this cast in particular should be applauded for their efforts and supported for all their hard work. The Winslow Boy is an infectious play which gets under your skin, and makes you think about the characters and their circumstances long after the curtain has fallen. It has an effect on its audience with its relatable nature and charismatic character charms. Well worth a watch, and worthy of all the rave reviews it’s been receiving.

4 Stars.