Posh behaviour.

13 Jun

Laura Wade’s leftie black comedy, Posh, is an obvious must for all who need their contempt for Oxbridge and Public Schooly drinkie silliness, fed and watered. The Osbo-Cam clan can enjoy it nearly as much but will suffer regular squirms at the moral decay implied beneath the hooray-Henry jokes. The scene is well-trodden territory. A snooty Oxford dining club – The Riot – populated by stuck-up more-money-than-sense clever dicks, meet in a gastro-pub for a no-holds barred dinner where drunkenness and damage are the least that is expected. This gives rise to an incessant and engaging torrent of piss-taking of the Posh. Naturally  the boys are unaware of how their achingly funny arrogance is received by we plebs in the audience. Indeed Wade’s major point is that, in their superiority, they don’t actually care.

On the one hand this is a romp but the update from its first run at the Royal Court has ensured that the nod at our Government is now both pointed and sustained. Privilege begets privilege. The darkness builds but Wade cleverly tones down the tub-thumping by making the cast burst into regular rap-style singing interludes which are both hilarious and brilliantly performed.

On the obvious level this is a party that gets out of hand – a sexual assalt and GBH are the booze-fuelled result. But Wade wants us to get into the minds of these posh boys and show them as dangerously odd, from another planet,   in comparison with the hapless landlord and his daughter – the man and woman in the street. Us, that is. There are attempts to balance the writing – the bright Greek boy who hopes his new money will buy him pedigree; the gawky godson who is going out with a comprehensive schoolgirl whose desperation to be president is cringemaking; the current president who appears to be the voice of sanity and suavity but crumbles when real moral authority is needed.

I doubt that Laura Wade intended the wider point that we all like being in clubs and that for all its silly garb and arrogant excess, the Riot club represents the need that all of us have to belong. The political point – and here Wade strikes the same chords as David Hare and that great Left wing TV dramatist, Trevor Griffiths – is that power goes with privilege. The seat of power remained firmly in the hands of the haves, not the have-nots as we plebs left the theatre.

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One Response to “Posh behaviour.”

  1. Christine Newman June 15, 2012 at 7:47 am #

    Saw this at the Royal Court with Sophie last year and have tickets to see it again next week with FurryJ – think he will enjoy this!

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