Ten Oxford University students sit down to dinner at the Bull’s Head Pub, tonight’s location for their termly Riot Club meal. This, however, is their first in two terms as one of the members Toby (Alan Scott) had caused a stir in the papers about the antics of the club.
They are over-excited, have money to burn and each other to impress and the entire cast are completely believable in their roles. From the two newbies, Ed (Sam Coade) and Miles (MacLeod Stephen), learning what goes on to the President of the club, James (Barnaby Findlay), the crowd are drawn into the night of drunkenness and debauchery, at first finding the young characters likeable before the night starts to take a nastier turn.
There is of course a political edge to this Laura Wade play, as social class is explored in a cutting yet all too real way. The boys at the table have all been brought up in privileged society and are scathing of the call girl they try to hire for entertainment and the bar manager and his daughter who are ‘honest, hard-working people.’ They try to pay their way out of situations and the audience may start to turn against them – after all, the socialist side of the political spectrum are supposed to hate the privileged, right? And this is perhaps what is most powerful as Hugo (Kyle Matson) asks: “Can we not just learn to co-exist?” Those who are born privileged should not be hated for that fact, just as those who work hard for their businesses and jobs should equally not be vilified.
Not every character gets it though and despite their boyish charm, Alistair (Scott Meenan), Harry (Will Addison) and Dimitri (Pedro Leandro) can’t understand why money isn’t the be-all and end-all. The Riot Club’s dinner then takes a sinister turn and it is up to the boys to use their wits instead of their wallets to get themselves out of a quite horrible situation.
The acting and writing are first class in this darkly comedic play and they will iron out the set issues (the door which kept swinging open behind them being one) and they should perhaps consider darkening what is supposed to be a nice bottle of red and instead looks like a less-than-perfect rose and celebrating with Champagne rather than Cava.
Despite this, Posh is about the best acting you will see at the Fringe, and as a result, theatre lovers should grab a ticket while they can.