Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Five star review: Posh at Nottingham Playhouse.

This regional première of Laura Wade's 'Posh' a stunningly conceived and brilliantly written play about uber privilege and pomposity hits the Nottingham Playhouse stage like a shattering glass of the wrong sort of wine served up by the wrong sort of person. Snobbery and cut glass accents abound and some of the characters are so upper class arrogant that you would willingly punch them for their self-important ways and exclusive and ultimately damaging social and political ideals. Saying that it is very funny and gasp out loud controversial in parts. This is a co-production between Nottingham Playhouse and Salisbury Playhouse and only the second production after its Royal Court/ West End début. The packed audience this evening are testament to the play's savage humour and well earned credentials.

The almost predominantly male cast are superbly cast as young Oxford students from very socially advantaged and moneyed backgrounds where they blithely forgive their own criminally riotous behaviour by paying the victims off with wads of cash. Chris, a gastro pub landlord - convincingly played by Neil Caple (the action is mostly in a fancy suite in a pub) finds his guests progressively trashing his establishment and abusing his daughter and is expected to take all the abuse as long as he isn't left out of pocket. All sentiment for the human victims goes out of the window like the hired prostitute who refuses to take part in their lurid games.


The two women's roles are both strong characters. We have call girl Charlie played with a firm grip on reality by actress Joanne Evans. Evans also sings beautifully in Latin during the dramatic scene changes and creates the mood for the ever darker episodes of the play. The landlord's quick witted daughter is captured wonderfully by Charlotte Brimble – a recent graduate of the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. To balance the practically all male acting ensemble we have an all female creative team with director Susannah Tresilian at the helm. The use of theatrical space through Tresilian's directorship is exemplary aided with Ellan Parry's terrific set realisation.


The boys played by Tom Clegg, Dario Coates, Simon Haines, Tom Hanson, Robbie Jarvis, Laurence Kennedy, Philip Labey, Jordan Metcalfe, Tom Palmer, and Jamie Satterthwaite, are portrayed as just that - adults masquerading as - immature 'boys'. Even though a few of the well drawn and complex characters give us reason to be somewhat sympathetic towards their childish behaviour and their desires to put wrongs right they are all lacking in the experience of the real world particularly in their non relationships with the women they encounter. Upper class snobbery rules supreme with these guys and appals throughout. The ensemble work terrifically together and all are utterly believable in their parts. Many times in the play you forget they are acting so engaging are their relationships with each other.

Posh is a cripplingly funny play where the laughs are from the horror of increasingly bad behaviour brought brilliantly to light by the cast and creative teams. The language of the piece can be uncompromising at times even savage in the meaning of ;awesome or amazing and conversely at others it is blunt as fuck. It plays at Nottingham Playhouse only until the 28th February so Carpe Dieum and grab a hot ticket to this five star Trashmeister of a play.

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