september 2017 | Volume 159
In her program note to Fighting Chance Productions’ Posh, Allyson Fournier wonders why she’s directing a “play about rich white men doing rich white men things.” Granted, this play about gross, reactionary, condescending, destructive upper-class twits—Oxford students—celebrating their annual Riot Club dinner by getting pissed, doing obnoxious things, wrecking the innkeeper’s dining room and assaulting him and his daughter was written by a woman, British playwright Laura Wade. And the two female characters (one a hooker) stand strong against the men.
But halfway through, I too was wondering, what’s it all about, Alfie?
There’s absolutely nothing redeeming about the ten young Riot Club members, who are flattered by Fournier’s excellent production and the fine performances of all her actors. Wade, as Fournier writes in her note, may be “satiriz[ing] privilege in … a hilarious, grotesque and shocking way,” but the play doesn’t say anything we don’t already know about these wannabe Masters of the Universe who feel they can say and do whatever the hell they want because of their class status and income—and are probably right.
And it’s not subtle. As one character complains, “I am sick to fucking death of poor people!”
Still, the production is impressive. Anytime you’ve got 10 characters around a table, some of them with their backs to you, and you can still see and hear what’s going on, that’s major points for the team. The rioting and fights are impressive, as are the accents. And the characters come off very vividly.
I especially appreciated the work of Riaan Smit, Mariela Shuley and Michael Shewchuk, but there are no weak links in the large cast and everyone has their moments.
I’m glad that Fighting Chance is expanding its repertoire to include non-musical work, and delighted that the quality of that work appears to be on par with its excellent musical productions. But of all the plays in the world …
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