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Rich And Angry! Steep’s Powerful New Play Is a Memorable One

posh-1The strong-armed arguments; the denigrations of those who seek to earn their own living, on their own terms; the manipulations leading to an assault; and the total destruction of property on the stage space are appalling enough.

But the final punch as you leave “Posh,” Steep Theatre Co.’s latest powerful performance, isn’t even something you’d expect. When the lights turn on at the end of playwright Laura Wade’s two-act play, the first thing you’ll have to do is tiptoe around and past the scatterings of potting soil littering the floor.

It’s difficult, in other words, not to take the impact of this more-than-two-hour performance home with you — to clap, in the end, for a deplorable-but-true concept even while its full-fleshed (and, thankfully, fictional) illustration is top-notch.

Yet that is the conflict that this 14-member cast quite capably presents: When the Oxbridge dining club holds its annual dinner after being taken down a notch in the media for previous bad behavior, this group of Britain’s brightest, best and most moneyed young men redefines elite. They just happen to do it with violence, harassment, intimidation and the best expressions of dramatic irony I’ve heard in some time.

“With ‘Posh,’ Laura Wade has created just the sort of charged atmosphere that plays so well in our cozy black box space,” Artistic Director Peter Moore said. “It’s timely, it’s tense, and it’s incredibly and uncomfortably funny.”

Wade has been described as the “queen of the theatre brat pack,” according to The Telegraph, picking up a stack of honors. She’s won the Critics’ Circle Award for Most Promising Playwright, the Pearson Most Promising Playwright Award, the Pearson Best Play Award, the George Devine Award, and was nominated for an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The U.S. premiere of “Posh” is directed by Steep Ensemble Member Jonathan Berry, a director and teacher in Chicago who is also Steppenwolf Theatre’s artistic producer. His other work at Steep has included Ross Dungan’s “The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle,” which the Edgeville Buzz wrote about in February 2015.

“Posh” runs Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. until Feb. 27. Sunday matinee performances are scheduled for Jan. 31, Feb. 7, Feb. 14, and Feb. 21 at 3 p.m.

Tickets range from $10 to $35. To reserve a ticket, call 773-649-3186 or visit www.steeptheatre.com.

Steep Theatre, 1115 W. Berwyn, is located by the Berwyn Red Line stop.

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