Posh at Bath Theatre Royal

HAVING conquered television playing juveniles in Outnumbered and Cuckoo, before writing documentaries on sexuality, online dating and porn, Tyger Drew-Honey has now decided that it is time to use the talent that brought him success on the small and large screens and radio to show that he can be equally effective live on stage.

The role that he has chosen to launch this course of action is Alistair Ryle, one of ten students, all from privileged backgrounds, who meet in a private room in a pub to celebrate the annual supper gathering of the Riot Club, determined to live up to the club’s name and dubious traditions regardless of how their actions affects others. In a programme interview Tyger says he is: “looking forward to prancing around being an arrogant dickhead for an hour and a half, for once playing a proper meaty bad guy role”.

And there is no doubting that he throws himself headlong into that character, his tirade towards the end of Act 1 when he details why he and the others from similar backgrounds have a divine right to lead the country spiritually, morally and politically, is frightening in its intensity.

It is hardly surprising when the hard-working pub landlord attempts to stand his ground on behalf of the other guests, representing the ordinary people, that Alistair loses control leading his fellow members in an attack on the landlord that leaves him senseless on the verge of death, with the room completely wrecked.

Laura Wade, as she showed in the last of her plays to be seen in this theatre, Home, I’m Darling, is too good an author to pile one layer of arrogance on top of another without some light relief, and there are some lovely humorous exchanges in the dialogue.

Like Tyger Drew-Honey’s performance however, there are not enough of these moments, or more importantly insights into the other sides of this group of would-be leaders, to make them always fully convincing.

We see plenty of weaknesses in the club members, but only one Joseph Tyler Todd’s George Balfour, played with the sort of subtlety the belies the fact that he is making his professional debut, fully shows that here is someone who perhaps realises the responsibilities that go with privilege. What we also see are a series of expertly drawn characters, amongst them Adam Mirsky’s ambitious and incompetent Guy Bell­ing­field and Jamie Little­wood’s Dimitri Mitropoulos, always realising that he is a tolerated outsider in this company.

Two ladies are introduced to the action helping to underline the club members belief that their position and money can buy them anything. Both are feisty, Ellie Dunn as a “call girl” brought in to liven up proceedings, and Isobel Laidler as the landlord’s university student daughter helping to serve the young gentlemen, but not be their plaything. Both win their battles, enraging the arrogant club members even more.

The play ends with food for thought as Simon Rhodes’ slimily smooth establishment figure papers over the cracks as if the incident never happened. If Laura Wade really believes that this can and does happen, we can all look forward to a very bleak future.


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