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Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - ON STAGE -

early on as the Bun­bury Company of Play­ers, we are giv­ing the au­di­ence a per­mis­sion slip to re­lax. My character is slightly akin to that woman who runs the lit­er­a­ture fes­ti­val, she owns a book store in town. She’s quite keen on Nigel Havers’ character in real life. Peo­ple know her, or some­one like her,” she says.

“When peo­ple see the show they’ll see the links to real life. I vis­ited a friend who lives in Bucks and I’m sure there are th­ese char­ac­ters some­where here!”

The con­cept of a play within a play also helps.

“Any­one who saw Noises Off [a farce], it’s that kind of idea of show­ing peo­ple what hap­pens be­hind the scenes,” Chris­tine adds. “It is dif­fer­ent way of do­ing it. It keeps it fresh.

“We play it as the Bun­bury Company of Play­ers, so we even have two pro­grammes, we have done our re­search!”

The cast met up with a London-based am-dram group to see if the stereo­types and tales were true and would prove grip­ping enough.

Chris­tine says: “We met up with a group in London, nam­ing no names, who let us grill them and find out what goes on be­hind closed doors, or cur­tain. It was highly amus­ing.

“They told us tales of af­fairs, what mishaps hap­pen, ev­ery­thing that goes wrong, peo­ple who play parts that re­ally shouldn’t – we found it funny, but also help­ful.

“It was a case of art im­i­tates life, but here act­ing im­i­tates life and art.

“We cre­ated th­ese other char­ac­ters that are play­ing Wilde’s based on this.”

Au­di­ences can ex­pect a fair share of com­edy and chuck­ling, not only from Wilde’s words but the added scenes, some­thing Chris­tine is re­ally look­ing for­ward to.

“There’s noth­ing more grat­i­fy­ing then hear­ing an au­di­ence laugh. It’s like a tidal­wave of laugh­ter wash­ing over you.”

The comic el­e­ment means ev­ery­one ups their game too, says Chris­tine.

“As a young ac­tor, with clas­si­cal plays you of­ten think you don’t do them as well be­cause, well, you are almost rev­er­en­tial. You can have your gloves off with this. It’s a very en­er­getic piece and ev­ery­one just has fun with it.”

The Im­por­tance of Be­ing Earnest is at the Wa­ter­side The­atre, Ex­change Street, Ayles­bury, HP20 1UG from Mon­day, Oc­to­ber 6 un­til Satur­day, Oc­to­ber 11 at 7.30pm, and 2.30pm on Thurs­day and Satur­day. Tick­ets from £11.90 to £37.90.

Visit www.at­gtick­ets.com or call 0844 871 7627.

15 Sam Claflin, Hol­l­i­day Grainger, Fred­die Fox, Dou­glas Booth, Matthew Beard, Sam Reid, Olly Alexan­der, Ben Sch­net­zer, Jack Far­thing, Gor­don Brown HE class war de­gen­er­ates into foul-mouthed tirades and stom­ach-churn­ing vi­o­lence in Laura Wade’s ro­bust adap­ta­tion of her own cor­us­cat­ing stage play.

Posh orig­i­nated at The Royal Court The­atre, in London, in 2010 and was re­vived two years later in the West End, paint­ing a vivid por­trait of a fic­tional din­ing clique akin to the Bulling­don Club at Ox­ford Univer­sity, which once in­cluded David Cameron, George Os­borne and Boris John­son in its no­to­ri­ous ranks.

Lone Scher­fig’s film, reti­tled The Riot Club, packs a sim­i­lar emo­tional wal­lop to its stage-bound pre­de­ces­sor, det­o­nat­ing pent-up testos­terone and tem­pers with hor­ri­fy­ing reper­cus­sions.

Wade has fleshed out key pro­tag­o­nists and ex­cised some scenes en­tirely to re­duce the run­ning time by 40 min­utes.

There seems to be a greater em­pha­sis on the fledg­ling ro­mance be­tween the most lik­able male character and a down-to-earth north­ern lass (Hol­l­i­day Grainger), who is daz­zled by the dream­ing spires and gushes: “Be­ing at Ox­ford is like be­ing in­vited to 100 par­ties all at once – and I want to go to all of them.”

The Riot Club is not a party most of us would wish to at­tend. But that’s the point.

Alis­tair Ryle (Sam Claflin) ar­rives at Ox­ford hop­ing to em­u­late his older brother, a for­mer pres­i­dent of the tit­u­lar fra­ter­nity.

This hush-hush 10-strong din­ing club hon­ours the mem­ory of its li­bidi­nous 18th cen­tury founder by booz­ing to ex­cess at an an­nual din­ner, trash­ing the venue and pay­ing for the da­m­ages out of their trust funds. Given his lin­eage, Alis­tair is almost cer­tain to catch the eye of Riot Club pres­i­dent James LeightonMasters (Fred­die Fox).

How­ever, it is dash­ing class­mate Miles Richards (Max Irons), from more hum­ble stock, who steals Alis­tair’s thun­der and arouses the ho­mo­sex­ual yearn­ings of in­flu­en­tial club mem­ber Hugo Fraser-Tyr­whitt (Sam Reid).

Alis­tair and Miles pass ini­ti­a­tion and are in­ducted into the ranks along­side Harry Vil­liers (Dou­glas Booth), Guy Belling­field (Matthew Beard), Toby Mait­land (Olly Alexan­der), Dim­itri Mitropou­los (Ben Sch­net­zer) and George Bal­four (Jack Far­thing). The stu­dents head to a coun­try pub run by Chris (Gor­don Brown) and his daugh­ter Rachel (Jessica Brown Find­lay), who have no idea of the dev­as­ta­tion about to be wrought.

The Riot Club is a sober­ing at­tack on a cul­ture of in­her­ited priv­i­lege and power in Bri­tain. Scher­fig’s film dis­sects how our egal­i­tar­ian so­ci­ety is founded on se­cret hand­shakes in wood-pan­elled rooms far from the madding elec­torate, and you can almost see the venom streak­ing down the cam­era lens when one ine­bri­ated club mem­ber sneers, “I am sick to death of poor peo­ple!”

The Dan­ish film­maker, who pre­vi­ously helmed the Os­car nom­i­nated com­ing of age story An Ed­u­ca­tion, doesn’t spare the morally re­pug­nant char­ac­ters any blushes.

A cli­mac­tic show­down is just as jaw-drop­ping in lurid cin­e­matic close-up as it was from the safe dis­tance of the the­atre’s up­per cir­cle.

Cer­tifi­cate Stars

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