The reviews are in for Pillsbury House Theatre’s “The Pride”

How has life changed for gay men in the past 50 years?

That’s the question at the heart of Alexi Kaye Campbell’s “The Pride” which splits itself between two love triangles in 1958 and 2008 respectively.

Critics are equally split over the effectiveness of the production. Check out this mix of reviews from the local media:

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“The Pride” at Pillsbury House Theatre

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Renee Valois at the Pioneer Press:

“The Pride” shows just how difficult it has been for gay men to claim theirs. Director Noel Raymond dives deep into dangerous emotional currents in Pillsbury House Theatre’s production, aided by compelling acting and the intimacy of the small theater.

…There’s some irony in the title of the show, which is more about shame than pride – yet ends at a Gay Pride celebration. The play shows just how far acceptance of gays and lesbians has come in 50 years – but also suggests that much more work must be done before all gay people can personally claim their pride inside and not just proclaim it as the name of a public event.

From Claude Peck at the Star Tribune:

“The Pride,” directed by Noël Raymond, gets a committed, thought-provoking and at times quite moving production. It’s easy to recommend an evening so full of tears and laughter, pathos and insight.

The play also contains frustrations and clumsy tonal shifts. Paul de Cordova is hilarious in several smaller roles, especially that of the profane but sensitive editor of a “lad’s” magazine, but his scenes are not always lashed securely to the rest of the show. When Sylvia and Oliver talk on a park bench after intermission, it goes on too long and seems more like speechifying than conversation.

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“The Pride” at Pillsbury House Theatre

Photo by Michal Daniel

From John Oliver at HowWasTheShow.com

I can confidently say that Campbell’s back-and-forth structural motif really works. We are invited to make vivid connections: the repressed fifties vs. the go-go oughts; an era when homosexuality was a source of shame and anguish vs. the present when gay sexuality is (putatively) celebrated. How have things changed? Have they changed? Campbell asks these questions without providing impossibly easy answers. Lovely.

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“The Pride” at Pillsbury House Theatre

Photo by Michal Daniel

From Ed Huyck at City Pages:

There’s nothing wrong at all with the ideas behind or the execution of The Pride at the Pillsbury House Theatre, I just wish that I felt a stronger connection to the characters, be it in the confinement of their 1950s reality, or in a different way, the confines of modern day.

…At times, Campbell’s script seems a little too on the nose, underlining issues — repression, bigotry, the overall gay rights movement — that are best explored through the characters he has built instead of in off-the-cuff speeches they give. The play’s best moments — a verbal fight that turns increasingly violent in act one; a decision to undertake a dubious “therapy” (paging Marcus Bachmann) later on — work because the characters, and in turn the audience, are completely invested in the action.

Have you seen “The Pride” at Pillsbury House Theatre? If so, what did you think? Share your reviews in the comments section.

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