Review - Posh
Stevenage Lytton Players POSH
Director - Andrew Lee
Performed at The Lytton Theatre Stevenage on Thursday 20th April 2023 at 7:45pm
This play is thought provoking, funny and disturbing in equal measures. This version was revised in 2012 but is still very relevant for today, although the protagonists might have come from a different background if it had been written in 2023.
At one point in its history this play was performed by an all-female cast so, the fact that three of the young men were played by women, in this production, has a lot of resonance. Based very loosely on the Oxford Bullingdon Club, called the Riot Club in this production, it features 12 young men from very privileged backgrounds and we are given some excellent characterisations from the cast.
We are introduced to the plot by a meeting between Toby (played by Georgia Vary) and his Godfather, Jeremy (played by Keith MacDougall) and then move onto the pub dining room which is the setting for the remainder of the action. Georgia’s performance as Toby was very entertaining, some great comic touches (especially with the wig!) amidst the more serious performance. The portrayal of him being ‘taken over‘ by the spirit of Lord Ryott, the original founder of the club, was in great contrast to the rest of the character and very important to the plot. He is setting out his stand to take over as President of the Riot Club, primarily by revisiting the clubs past misdemeanours. Then there is Dimitri, excellently played by Alice Smithson, a young, very rich, young man of Greek heritage, which is picked upon by members at various times. The interplay between these two characters was terrific to watch, as Dimitri ‘flashed the cash’ to make own his play for the President.
Tom Beirne played the part of Alastair, a really arrogant character to perfection, his performance displayed suitable viciousness and a complete disregard of normal behaviour. Ben Paddon (Harry) was very entertaining and his characterisation as the ‘sex mad’ one of the group was great. Chris Twomey played the ‘new boy’ Ed with accuracy and energy, very entertaining. I liked Rob Paice (George) as he constantly sought out food, bringing a light touch to the action and the occasional comic break. All the rest of the young men; Guy (Sophie Martin) Hugh (Alex Hancock) James (Austin Arnold) and Miles (Chris O’Kelly) each had their own character and the performances were all outstanding. The supporting cast: Dave Woolley (the pub landlord, Chris) Rhonda Bland (the escort, Charlie) Keith MacDougall (the afore mentioned Jeremy) and Ella Hodgson (the waitress, Rachel) were all good, giving the much needed comparisons to the other characters.
This was Andrew Lee’s directorial debut and a very good one it is. It was clear that the production had been collaborative, and I can guess that rehearsals were very interesting at times, as each actor developed their character!
The set was very good, it cannot have been easy to get 10 diners onto the stage so that everyone could be seen, and the ‘wrecking’ scene was very well planned and executed. Lighting was appropriate, not too much to do on this standing set but it changed when it was needed to create the scene. Costumes were simple and right for the production.
The play was beautifully performed by everyone in the cast, well done, it certainly gave me something to think about as I drove home!
I was very well looked after by the members of the society before the show and during the interval and it was a pleasure to be able to have a brief discussion with Director, Andrew, in the interval. It really helps to get that perspective on a production when writing these reviews. My thanks to Stevenage Lytton Players for an excellent evening.