Thursday, April 15, 2010

Posh by Laura Wade, Royal Court, 12-Apr-2010 – Directed by Lyndsey Turner

For a group of young who consider themselves to be the inheritors of the mantle of British leadership, the Riot Club (modelled on a certain Oxford University Dining Club) are remarkably bad at organising a dinner. The restaurant is wrong with a too-convivial host who won't easily accept compensation for the damage they expect to cause, someone forgets the drugs and the prostitute turns out to be a jobs-worth.

Against this backdrop the several members vie for the presidency of the club while the existing president is pre-occupied with his Masters degree and, like some of the older members, wondering what life will be like beyond the University and their privileged circle.
I thought the author juggled the different characters of the ten members of the club very well, although three or four of the minor characters seemed to fade into sameness when they weren't rooted in their chairs. You could argue that those four characters were needed for the plot, the crowd dynamics and to provide weight to the shifting loyalties in the group. That said having to introduce everyone and flesh them out makes the first half play grind slowly at times.

The play works by showing this dining club and letting them speak unchallenged. There is skill in the way that they appear to agree politically on things like the tawdriness of Britain and how things were better when their grandparents (and older generations) were in charge, leaving the audience to detect the flaws in their arguments and imagine countering them. These young men are pretty obnoxious in their snobbery and attitudes but until almost the end they maintain a pretence at being gentlemen. I even suspected that the author might have succumbed to their self-mythologising and belief in their natural superiority.

These young men are portrayed as remembering their great forebears whilst ignoring the ignominious. They believe in their right to be in charge because that is the way it has always been or at least should be, maybe they don't question how and why that expectation happened.



Product Cloud