Skip to main content

No results found

Hanborough Gate banner
What's On, Culture, Theatre

Review: Posh

Funny, fluid and engaging

divider
Sam Bennett
Posh 2

People may well watch Laura Wade’s Posh and its fictitious Riot Club – a group of privileged Oxford University students who eat and booze together in tails before wrecking the place they’re doing it in – thinking it a depiction of the Bullingdon Club of which the leader of our country (alongside other notable Tories) was once part. Indeed in this Lucy Hughes-directed production, Adam Mirsky’s Guy Bellingfield – dishevelled and buffoonish – has an air of Boris about him. Plus, the prime minister’s face is one of the first we see, adorning the front page of the Telegraph read by Simon Rhodes as Jeremy in the opening scene. With such thinking, people might then arrive at conclusions as to why there’s a divide between politicians and the people, why the country’s in disarray, and so on.

Aside from all that though, Posh is a funny play with a clear beginning, middle and end, as well as attention-grabbing monologues – one of which, capably delivered by Tyger Drew-Honey (Alistair Ryle), finishes Act One really strongly. At an hour and a half, it is a longish first half, but this production moves through the 90 minutes at a decent pace (with only the occasional dip in energy) so it doesn’t feel long.

There’s good variety courtesy of club member Toby Maitland (Matthew Entwistle) rising out of a drunken slumber in the guise of Lord Riot (originally, we learn at the end, spelt with a ‘y’) for a stint of surrealism in which he chastises the Riot boys for failing to live up to the name of the club founded in his honour. Later arrives something we all know is coming: the lads smashing up the dining room. Doing this in slow motion with classical music playing isn’t especially ground-breaking, but it works, with some form of carnage taking place everywhere you look.

Jack Whittle gives a stand-out performance as the beyond snooty Harry Villiers, his “fucking Jane Austen” line – which comes from distain for his family home being used as a tourist attraction – one of the funniest moments of the evening. It is topped, however, by the excellent Joseph Tyler Todd as George Balfour, with the account of a failed cocaine pick-up in Blackbird Leys.

The group beating of the gastropub’s governor Chris (Peter McNeil O’Connor) could do with tightening up, and some character entrances need a little more oomph. But, with a compelling Will Coombs set and distinct characterisation, overall this is a fluid and engaging show, whether you use it to explain the UK’s predicaments or not.

Posh is at Oxford Playhouse until 7 September.

RECOMMENDED

oxford playhouse playmaker reading 1
Thu 2 Apr 2020

Oxford Playhouse Launches

New Creative Programme

Oxford Playhouse has announced the launch of a new programme of work, Playhouse Plays On: The Creativity Continues, to encourage creativity and keep audiences connected during the period of closure

3
Tue 31 Mar 2020

Balanced Installations

Losing Venus at Pitt Rivers

Pitt Rivers exhibition highlights the impact of British colonialism on queer lives around the world

image2
Tue 31 Mar 2020

Creation Theatre Launches

Drama Club Online

Imagine this…you log online, join a video call (using Zoom) and suddenly your children are invited to go on an enchanting journey to explore a classic tale, and along the way meet fantastical

27565352158 2f1910c9d0 k
Thu 26 Mar 2020

Cloth of Splendour

Julia Engelhardt Wins OFA Competition

Back in November we launched a competition on behalf of the Oxford Festival of the Arts (OFA) to find a cover design for their 2020 festival brochure. Entrants were to take their inspiration