Monday, December 19, 2011

POW! (Play Of The Week)

by Laura Wade

What happens when you put ten rich, smart, competitive men in the same room with a case of expensive wine and a ten-bird roast (imagine a turducken times three)? Posh.

Every term, the ten members of the Oxford University’s Riot Club gather together to eat good food, drink expensive wine and trash a dining room with the expectation that they can pay off anyone who complains. This term, a clash over the leadership and the future of the club agitate this already combative group of affluent students. Dressed in tails and up for a night of debauchery, the Riot Club exchange insults, brilliant quips and stories about their crumbling castles that have been turned over to the state. Throw in an overly attentive proprietor, his “tasty” daughter and a “professional” prostitute and the boys of the Riot Club are in for a more memorable night than they bargained for.

Posh premiered at London’s Royal Court in the spring of 2010 on the eve of the general election that brought the Tories to power. Modeled after the Bullingdon Club (which current Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron was a member of), the Riot Club is Wade’s means of exploring England’s ruling class, their attitudes and their origin. Her apt use of the well-bred vernacular simultaneously charms and terrifies the audience as the Riot Club members continuously undercut one another. These are smart young men who have a frightening hatred bubbling beneath the surface. A hatred for poor people, a hatred for unintelligent people, a hatred for the people who have taken their country away from the people who deserve to rule it. What’s even more frightening is how good they are at articulating this hatred and how comfortable they are doing so in the company of one another.

Wade has written a clever, scathing, funny play about the men behind the curtain in politics and how they got there.

12M, 2W
Reviewed by Kate


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