Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical

Reviewer's Rating

Cruel Intentions: The ‘90s Musical is a delightful romp through the scandalous world of Manhattan’s elite, bringing the beloved ’90s film to life with a fresh comedic spin and a throwback soundtrack. Set against a rotating stage, the production delivers a dynamic experience that keeps audiences engaged from start to finish.

One of the standout features of the musical is its clever use of familiar ’90s hits like “Genie in a Bottle” and “Lovefool.” Rather than relying on an original score, the show weaves these iconic tunes seamlessly into the narrative, adding depth and humour to the dialogue. From catchy whimsical numbers to poignant ballads, the music enhances the storytelling, creating moments of pure entertainment within the audience.

The cast delivers strong vocal performances and impeccable comedic timing, bringing each character to life with charisma and flair. Annette (Abbie Budden), showed great vocal strength and emotional depth, anchoring the story with her earnest portrayal, while Sebastian’s (Daniel Bravo) commanding presence and mouldable voice makes him a compelling lead. All lead cast members shine brightly, with Katherine (Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky) commanding the stage with her powerful vocals and captivating presence, embodying the essence of her character with effortless grace and power. Meanwhile, Cecile (Rose Galbraith) captivates audiences with her portrayal of the character’s endearing awkwardness, infusing the role with charm and comedic flair that adds an extra layer of delight to the production.

The production’s staging not only adds visual depth and excitement but also cleverly incorporates elements such as a rotating platform and multi-tiered set design, effectively transporting audiences into the glamorous world of the characters. Additionally, the use of cleverly executed flashbacks and audience interaction, particularly during the finale, adds an extra layer of excitement and engagement. A guitarist on the balcony further enhances the live music, providing a unique touch that elevates the overall atmosphere of the show, while flattering lights accentuate the theatrical experience, immersing the audience in the captivating world.

While the musical excels in many areas, there are moments where the pacing feels a bit forced, particularly during a few song transitions like “No Scrubs”. Moreover, the omission of pivotal scenes, like the intimate car drive with Sebastian and Annette, undermines the authenticity of their relationship. Given that their chemistry is a cornerstone of the plot, the absence of such moments is glaring. Perhaps reallocating one or two musical numbers to include these significant interactions could have strengthened the emotional depth and believability of their connection.

Cruel Intentions offers a funny and entertaining take on a beloved classic, combining nostalgia with fresh comedic twists and standout vocal performances. While it may not have the same seductive qualities as the original, the cast’s infectious energy makes it a must-see for fans of the film and musical theatre enthusiasts alike.

Director: Jonathan O’Boyle

Created by Jordan Ross, Lindsey Rosin and Roger Kumble

Based on the original hit film by Roger Kumble

Originally produced by Eva Price

Cast includes: Daniel Bravo, Abbie Budden, Rose Galbraith, Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky

Venue: The Other Palace

Until Sunday 19th May

Running time: 2 hour 20 mins (including 20-minute interval)

Review by Sofia Moran