POSH To 22 May.

London.

POSH
by Laura Wade.

Royal Court (Jerwood Theatre Downstairs) Sloane Square SW1W 8AS To 22 May 2010.
Mon-Sat 7.30 Mat Sat & 13. 20 May 3pm .
Audio-described 15 May 3pm.
Captioned 11 May.
Post-show Discussion 29 April.
Runs 2hr 45min One interval.

TICKETS: 020 7565 -5000.
www.royalcourttheatre.co.uk
Review: Carole Woddis 15 April.

A show of fascinatingly appalling inequality.
Timing is everything. Dominic Cooke’s decision to schedule Laura Wade’s latest play during the run-up to the General Election is a brilliant marketing stroke, all the more so for opening on the night of the first TV debate and being about the now infamous Oxford dining club to which a certain number of the present Tory hierarchy once belonged.

Given a quite indecent amount of topicality, Posh proceeds to anatomise that section of society born to privilege and who feel themselves born to rule. Thinly disguised as the Riot Club, Wade’s young blades are meeting in an Oxford pub to wine, dine, and as is the tradition on such occasions, trash the place.

We’re used to seeing bad behaviour on the stage of the Royal Court. But this is paradoxically both more tepid and more troubling for being from the `silver spoon’ brigade.

.For underneath the cunningly caught banter, Wade shows a festering sore of resentment towards a more egalitarian world by which these people feel betrayed, and which they would like to restore once again in their own image.

Not that this becomes immediately apparent. If there is a fault, it is that Wade indulges in too much engaging foreplay before getting down to the real business of uncovering the uglier manifestations of immature young Tories – in this instance physical violence and potential gang rape.

But by far the most shiver-making moments lie in the silky smooth machinations of Simon Shepherd’s Party maker and shaker, Jeremy, spotting future `talent’ in Leo Bill’s young Robespierre of the Right, Alistair Ryle.

Lyndsey Turner’s production and Anthony Ward’s scarlet walls and oak-panelling carry an enticing, steadily threatening atmosphere, whilst a talented young cast take every opportunity to show these hot house plants in all their doubtful finery.

Unquestionably critical, the young rowdies raise some wider truths about Britain’s general decline that also make it disturbingly impossible to entirely dismiss them. Which all goes to show that Wade herself was probably equally intrigued, and in part attracted by, this Establishment breeding-house as she was repulsed and appalled. Fascinating.

Jeremy: Simon Shepherd.
Guy Bellingfield: Joshua McGuire.
Chris: Daniel Ryan.
George Balfour: Richard Goulding..
Toby Maitland: Jolyon Coy.
Ed Montgomery: Kit Harington..
Harry Villiers: Harry Hadden-Paton.
Alistair Ryle: Leo Bill.
Hugo Fraser-Tyrwhitt: David Dawson.
Miles Richards: James Norton.
Dimitri Mitropoulos: Henry Lloyd-Hughes.
James Leighton-Masters: Tom Mison.
Rachel: Fiona Button.
Charlie: Charlotte Lucas.

Director: Lyndsey Turner.
Designer: Anthony Ward.
Lighting: Paule Constable.
Sound: David McSeveney.
Musical Director: James Fortune.
Voice coach: Penny Dyer.
Fight arranger: Bret Yount.
Assistant director: James Yeatman.

2010-04-17 12:26:36

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