Timing, they say, is everything and Silo Theatre's production of The Pride is bang on.
The love story between two gay men, the woman who connects them, and the struggles they face on the winds of love could certainly not come at a more opportune time in New Zealand.
Sparking discussions and realisations about a world many people think they understand, the tale subtly opens eyes and hearts to a gut-wrenching reality.
The Pride dips in and out of the lives of three characters - Oliver, Phillip and Sylvia - 50 years apart. We watch as Oliver and the married Phillip fight against falling in an impossible love in 1958; and in 2008 we see the pair fight to stay in love. Sylvia serves as the catalyst, and at times the heartbroken.
In half a century, we might see roles change, but the weightiness of decisions and the consequences of actions are still as real, no matter what decade we are in.
Alternating between the intertwined lives of the three characters, it is clear to see - and feel - the fear, secrecy and oppression mirrored between the two moments in time.
The cast delve deep into two worlds where the calendar may be different, but the feelings hang heavy, regardless. Only a far-off flicker of light, of liberation and of hope redeems an otherwise heart-paining situation.
The script, written by English writer Alexi Kaye Campbell, is delicately clever and the characters poignant and painfully real. The acting is a pleasure to watch, as the players unfold the interwoven tales.
Kip Chapman as Oliver is a delicate combination of cheeky, camp and lost; on the outside he is the most at home with his place in the world, but the deeper the play goes, the more he starts questioning exactly what he wants.
However Phillip, played wonderfully by Simon London, faces a tougher journey as a repressed husband, refusing to even ask the questions, let alone attempt to answer them. The pair essentially switch emotional depths between the two storylines, building the overall tension of the production perfectly.
But it is the understated Dena Kennedy as Sylvia that is mesmerising to watch. As the hurt and longing wife, to the tough-loving pal, she does a wonderful job of balancing the storylines, as a vessel through which to see the unfolding loves stories.
Throw in Sam Snedden with three outsider, but pivotal, roles and the production is a class act.
There are moments of joy, and there are moments of complete and utter crackling tension within this production.
The performances sizzle and they soar, never once losing the heart of a truly important story.
The Pride is a production that examines and lives the complexities of love. Of all love.
It is powerful, it is raw, it is real and it is important. Campbell has created a game-changer of a play, and director Sophie Roberts has brought it to life in all its painful, brave and beautiful glory.
Taking us between these two worlds, so similar yet so completely at odds with each other, could be a clunky, spell-breaking mess, but instead there is an overlapping and a melding that adds to the narrative, forcing the question to be asked - have things changed that much after all?
And it is a question that the audience must answer for themselves.
WHERE: Herald Theatre, Auckland
WHEN: Until September 1
- © Fairfax NZ News