Posh: Laura Wade's play gets political update for West End

By Tim Masters
Entertainment and arts correspondent, BBC News

image captionRiot Club: Posh first opened at the Royal Court in 2010

Playwright Laura Wade has updated her 2010 sell-out play Posh to reflect the changing political climate for its West End transfer.

The story centres around a night of drunken debauchery by an elite Oxford dining society at a country gastropub.

"We really wanted to get our hands in again and bring it into absolutely now," said Wade, after the play's West End opening night on Wednesday.

The Royal Court production is at Duke of York's Theatre until 4 August.

Directed by Lyndsey Turner, the cast includes Leo Bill, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Max Bennett and Harry Lister Smith.

Posh first opened at the Royal Court in 2010 in the run-up to the general election. It became one of the highest-grossing shows ever to play in the theatre.

Two years on, the script has undergone what Wade calls a "quite large rewrite" to reflect the new coalition government and the Greek economic crisis.

image captionNot posh: Laura Wade is adapting her play for the big screen

"Two years ago those characters were living under a Labour Government and now they're not, so they have different reasons to feel disenfranchised," she told the BBC.

"We wanted to add things that felt relevant to now but not those that were flash-in-the-pan - for example doing a 'pasty-gate' joke would have felt a bit cheap."

Critics have drawn parallels between Posh's Riot Club and the real-life Bullingdon Club (past members include David Cameron, George Osborne and Boris Johnson). But Wade is keen to point out that her characters are purely fictional.

She is currently working on adapting Posh into a feature film, with several drafts already completed.

A graduate of the Royal Court Young Writers Programme, Wade's first play for the Royal Court in 2005, Breathing Corpses, won her the Critics' Circle theatre award for most promising playwright.

So how posh does the Bristol university graduate consider herself?

"I'm not posh at all. I grew up in Sheffield but never managed to pick up the accent - which was careless because there'd be some cache now in being a northern playwright, but I missed out on that one.

"I think the interesting thing about the word 'posh' is that it is so relative, it's quite a provocative title because people have strong feelings about that word."

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