Review – Posh, Royal Court

Monday 10 May 2010

Just a quickie or we’ll never catch up: Laura Wade’s Posh at the Royal Court is about a group of implausibly over-privileged Oxford students with an implausibly universal disdain for poor people. They are all members of The Riot Club, an exclusive dining club which habitually destroys dining rooms but pays for the damage so that’s OK.

Posh has had lots of coverage because The Riot Club is based on the notorious Bullingdon Club whose alumni include David Cameron, George Osborne and, umm, according to Wikipedia, Daily Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer, a charge which sadly he refutes.

That everyone in this milieux should be so utterly horrid as portrayed here seems as implausible as Wade’s conclusion which is that the Hooray Henry who goes too far and kicks a publican half to death will be seen by the Tory party machine to be just the sort of chap they are looking for once they have got him off the charges and all the nonsense dies down.

Yet in spite of all this and in spite of the fact that much of the first act deals only with the club’s rules, traditions and prospective leadership, the combination of sparkling dialogue, a superbly cast, top-drawer ensemble (including WEW-approved David Dawson and Henry Hadden Paton) playing with utter conviction and fine direction from Lyndsey Turner transforms this slightly rickety play transformed into a theatrical delight.


Rating score 4-5 full-bodied

4 Responses to “Review – Posh, Royal Court”

  1. webcowgirl Says:

    I saw this play as kind of being the History Boys Go to College.

  2. sandown Says:

    For all its accomplished cast and staging, this play is a routine subsidised-theatre diatribe against the “Tory toffs”.

    Ironically enough, their victims in this case — the businessman landlord and his aspirational daughter — would be normally be presented here as hate-figures. And if their elegant private dining-room was being trashed by inner-city youths or G20 protestors, we would be expected to sympathise with the vandals.

    There is another dining-club at Oxford called the Piers Gaveston Society, whose members dress up as women and perform bizarre acts on each other. However, as some of their alumni are now leading figures in the subsidised arts world, it seems unlikely that we will be seeing a savage indictment of their behaviour on the Royal Court stage, any time soon.

  3. josh Says:

    I know quite a lot of people in the equivalent Cambridge club – and they ARE all basically as horrid as the characters in Posh. So not as implausible as one would hope, WEW!

  4. Baldassaro Says:

    The mailing I received for this production gave my first name as Toby, rather than Paul. I’d be intrigued to know whether the Royal Court has systematically given everyone posher names when mailing out on this one.

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