Review Roundup: Royal Court's POSH - All the Reviews


Royal Court Theatre Productions and Ambassador Theatre Group's rewritten production of POSH opened last night at the Duke of York's Theatre on the West End. Read the BroadwayWorld roundup of all the reviews below - updated live as they come in.

The cast are Max Bennett (In Basildon, Royal Court; Danton's Death, National); Leo Bill (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo; Posh, Royal Court); Pip Carter (The Cherry Orchard and Gethsemane, National); Jolyon Coy (Posh and Before The Flood, Royal Court); Richard Goulding (The Soldier and the Maker, Barbican; Posh, Royal Court); Edward Killingback (Posh marks Edward's professional stage debut); Harry Lister Smith (Hamlet, Sheffield Crucible); Henry Lloyd-Hughes (The Inbetweeners, series and film; Posh, Royal Court); Charlotte Lucas (The Changeling, Young Vic; Posh, Royal Court); Joshua McGuire (Hamlet, Globe / International tour; Posh, Royal Court); Tom Mison (Salmon Fishing in the Yemen; Posh, Royal Court); Jessica Ransom (Doc Martin; The Wonder! A Woman Keep's a Secret, BAC); Steffan Rhodri (Gavin and Stacey; Clybourne Park, Royal Court; Absent Friends, West End); and Simon Shepherd (Art, West End; Posh, Royal Court).

In an oak-panelled room in Oxford, ten young bloods with cut-glass vowels and deep pockets are meeting, intent on restoring their right to rule. Members of an elite student dining society, the boys are bunkering down for a wild night of debauchery, decadence and bloody good wine. But this isn't just a jolly: they're planning a revolution.

Welcome to the Riot Club.

Posh played to 100% capacity at the Royal Court and remains one of the highest-grossing shows ever to play in the theatre.

The creative team are Writer Laura Wade, Director Lyndsey Turner, Designer Anthony Ward, Lighting Designer Charles Balfour and Sound Designer David McSeveney.

The show, which is the first in The Royal Court's West End season this year, is scheduled to run until August 4, 2012.

Charles Spencer, Telegraph: "You don't have to go along with Wade's paranoid lefty politics to enjoy the piece. [...] There is much fun to be had at the expense of these posh characters as they bicker, get wasted and lament the awfulness of the working classes. As the evening progresses, however, the mood turns increasingly dark and more violent, for Wade wants to show that there is a strain of evil in at least some of the characters, she depicts, and moral cowardice, too."

Michael Billington, Guardian: "If I enjoyed it more second time around, it's partly because Wade has grasped a fundamental truth about British life and partly because the play breathes more easily in front of a mixed West End audience. ... What is new is the bubbling resentment [the characters] feel that, even with their chaps in power, the country is still dogged by Labour's economic inheritance."

Michael Coveney, "With a few sly re-writes, it has intensified that sense in the country of an entitled ruling class feeling less sure of itself, and not just because the rest of us are tramping through their country homes courtesy of the National Trust. ... It was a common complaint around me in the back stalls that the actors' articulation and audibility are poor."

Henry Hitchings, "It's a problem that Wade's gilded youth seem quite so lacking in decency. Only the disenchanted club president (Tom Mison) hints at reserves of humanity. There's little to suggest the possibility of a world that's not as heartless as the one the rollicking toffs embody. Leo Bill and Henry Lloyd-Hughes are once again excellent as leaders of that cabal. So are Max Bennett and Harry Lister Smith, both new to the cast. Yet it's the tautness of the ensemble work orchestrated by director Lyndsey Turner that impresses most."

Sam Smith, "There is much to be gleaned from the superb cast – especially Tom Mison's James, Max Bennett's Harry and Leo Bill's Alistair – who between them show just how many distinct variations there can be on the same basic character type. With strong performances, biting social commentary and a good deal of humour (these are the type of people it is therapeutic to laugh at) POSH is quite simply a riot."

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