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.