Posh is the first show of the season for the Sheffield University Theatre Company and by god does it start it with a bang. The cast and crew do a fantastic job bringing giving us mere peasants a good old look into the inner workings of Britain’s elite with style and punch.
The show stars The Riot Club, a fictional all male, exclusive dining club with a striking resemblance to the infamous Bullingdon Club of Oxford University, as they prepare for their once a term blow off. As the previous two term’s dinners have been cancelled due to exposure of their extravagance to the press, the boys want to make it something truly special. With a name like The Riot Club, you know that they aren’t just here for the food. The alcohol flows and the chanting persists as the boys toast their way through their deluded wet dream of imperialism, scoffing and huzaring at the mere presence of those below them.
With the current political climate in Britain, this show couldn’t come at a better time. It really makes you wonder what the Eton duo of Cameron and Johnson really got up to in their time at Oxford. For all of this shows strengths, its one weakness comes from how you perceive it. If you view it as a parody, you may be disappointed as the antics feel all too real, with nothing feeling like an exaggeration. The show does have its comedic moments; however as the second act lingers you really get to see how vile these characters are.
The club is something that has been going on for generations, with stories ranging from excessive to downright ridiculous. However, with this comes the anxiety of the newer member to outperform their predecessors and become an absolute legend. There is perhaps no better example of this than Guy (Martha Roberts) and Dimitri’s (Mark Mehta) consistent and hilarious battle to give the boys a night to remember.
What makes this more entertaining is the ease in which these legendary schemes and plans come to the likes of Harry, (Callum Tipton) whose suave calmness floods the stage. Special mentions have to go out to Toby (Polly Sculpher) who gives yet another master class in drunken acting and the incredibly vile Alistair (Chloe Christian) who makes your blood boil for at least 20 minutes after the curtains have closed. Alistair comes off as some sort of bastard child between Lucius Malfoy and Margaret Thatcher and it’s something truly sinister to behold.
Everyone in the cast did an amazing role of capturing a different personality. I went into this thinking that a lot of the characters would mould together into some sort of super toff, but everyone feels unique. Sure you have your brainless ones, but the dim-witted George (Becky Danks) is perfectly balanced with the enthusiastic yet inexperienced Ed (Sebastian Belli). Even characters such as Miles (Ben Price) and Jeremy (Dan Mace) find their own distinguishing quirks despite their volume of lines. I don’t want to give any more away but Hugo (Jack Young) and the president James (Tom Boxall) also gave wonderful performances which allowed the show some twists that I didn’t expect.
I do feel incredibly sorry for the likes of Chris, Rachael and Charlie (Mike Alexander, Beth Dawson and Kirsty Magee) as they spend the night suffering those who can only be described as utter arses. They really do get it rough and it’s painful to watch.
Through all the stellar performances the real star has to be the set. The technical team have done a brilliant job of not only recreating a quaint countryside pub but also handing this shows technical requirements which are, quite frankly, as extravagant as the characters in the show.
Posh is one of those shows you have to see to believe and if you are the sort of person that gets outraged on Facebook about the government’s current condition, I dare you to sit and watch its origin.
Catch this show before it finishes on Saturday 27th February
Tickets and details are available from http://www.sutco.org/
Images by Joesph Priestley: https://www.facebook.com/joesampriest/?fref=ts