Friday, 13 July 2012

Seize the Day

How in hell does one review a play like this?
This will test my mettle.
I shall make it easy for myself by stating NOW that this shall be a short review.
Because a) I saw it a while ago.
b) I need to just write the damn thing.
and c) I really think you should go and see it, and make up your own minds.

Well, for a start, when you walk up to a play and see this picture, it's a pretty good start:

'Ten of the best young actors we've seen on stage since The History Boys' - Time Out

High praise indeed. But, having walked into Posh by Laura Wade thinking 'Oh really. That's a big statement, that is, 'coz I've SEEN The History Boys and they was BLOODY GOOD', I can confirm that every single young man on that stage was also BLOODY GOOD.
Quick summary: story of boys at an Oxford gentleman's club, supposedly based on the Bullingdon club, old haunt of Cameron et al, called here 'The Riot Club', they cause lots and lots of trouble, and are essentially a dying, upper class breed, with no real place in the world, or so it seems.
My mother walked out of the theatre at half time for some air, and I could tell something was up. She and my uncle were both quite quiet, which, if you knew them, would be enough to tell you something was indeed very much up.
Friends were gathered. Drinks collected. My uncle lit up an obligatory half-time ciggie. Quietness. Mum, what's the matter?

'Well... I think I'm... I think I'm... shocked.'

The very same emotion then rocketed around our circle of friends.
My mother is a hard woman to shock. I know. I've tried. Laura Wade, congratulations. You shocked my Mum. You have triumphed where so much has failed.
I would like to shake you firmly by the hand.
'Posh' is one of those rare and sad things that can widen any generation gap. It can age a 30 year old in minutes. The older generation of our party just did. Not. Get. It.
This is mainly if not entirely down to the humour. It's bawdy - no, bawdy is wrong, 'bawdy' is Shakespearean, archaic - fine, it's FILTHY. Full of 'your mum'-esque humour, except it all sounds so much more detestable when coming from the mouths of ten titled young men, off their posh tits on champers.
What was so shocking for me wasn't the actual humour - I, regrettably, hear it every day, often all day, from male peers ('such a lad' etc ). Whether or not I should hear it is a whole different topic, and a can of worms I shall not deign to pry open on this particular occasion... but no, it was not the content that outraged. Everything took on a very different hue; maybe it's because that type of 'joke' is so close to me in every day life, but I found myself genuinely disgusted by these men - you could practically hear them thinking of 'make me a sandwich' jokes whenever the young, naive waitress entered the scene.
I still found them very beguiling. Perhaps that was because I was rather taken with one (ahem). Perhaps it was because they were Oxford boys, and that's where I hope to be headed in a year. I don't know. For me, a teenager, they were infinitely watchable, and even in some cases, I could get past the apparent snobbishness and misogyny, and actually find quite a harmless human being. Infinitely watchable, but not infinitely likeable; Leo Bill as the most hideous of the bunch was occasionally terrifying, and consistently repulsive. The rest only mildly better.

Oh but the music. Playlist please:
- I'm Sexy and I Know It
- Moves Like Jagger
- Pass Out
- and I've forgotten the fourth...

ALL SUNG - no word of a lie - A CAPPELLA. BY ALL THE CHAPS.
They need to make a CD.

I am deeply ashamed to say that I am far too ignorant and sheltered to comment on the political impact or message the play renders. It is clearly coming at a tender time; it clearly spells out a message that I'm sure members of our current parliament would like not to hear; but how far it strays from reality into satire, I don't know. Go and see for yourselves - I think you get what you look for out of this play. But be warned; in the words of The Observer, 'it packs the nastiest punch.'
Oh dear, this wasn't a short review, was it...
Some stand out moments were; a newbie's defence of an heirloom teddy bear from his fellow club members, the English student's rendition and Riot re-working of Henry V's 'One more unto the breach, dear friends' which I wish for the life of me I could remember, and finally, a phrase which, I'm ashamed to say, both I and my step-brother have adopted.


And on that lovely note...


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