The newest NUTS production, set in a private dining room in Oxford, follows the ten boys of the Riot Club as they prepare for a night of “debauchery, decadence and bloody good wine”.
An unimaginable raucous, Jack Hilton and Phoebe Clothier do wonderfully to blur the line between direction and improv. Chairs are used as podiums for rousing speeches, filled with tales of merriment and the righteousness of entitlement.
Pudding obsessive Eleanor Beattie encompasses the juvenile side of university private clubs
A play that oozes with infectious enjoyment, the crowds enjoyment was only surpassed by the actors and actresses. Ruaidhri Johnston is hilarious throughout, playing the dual role of political and hotel manager. He performs with impeccable grandeur and ease, jokes landing without diluting his vibrant characters, playing well off the intensely offensive Xander Kynoch. Soon we are confronted with the onslaught of the rest of the Riot Club. Storming in one by one, each entrant brings their own brand of chaos. Indeed, the characters that are being portrayed are repulsive; they’re sexist, violent and incredibly snobbish but funny enough to be likable.
Some of the jokes had the crowd wincing but for the most part the boyish tone was thoroughly entertaining. Pudding obsessive Eleanor Beattie encompasses the juvenile side of university private clubs, hinting that perhaps we should ignore the silliness that goes on behind closed doors. This is before the final act where Bea Hammerton, playing the starring role, with a performance that touched on something far more profound. She stood up for the entitled as the younger members waned, her stirring speeches almost had me shouting along for the voices of the posh to be heard.
And that’s what made the play so exciting. A perplexing mix of addictive destruction and the terrifying reality that we might all be governed behind closed doors.