Cruel Intentions: The Musical review (The Other Palace)

Cruel Intentions: The Musical at The Other Palace

Cruel Intentions: The Musical proves a camp, sexy and fun theatrical experience that translates the dark, seductive energy of the 1999 film into a vibrant stage production.

In Cruel Intentions, set against the backdrop of New York’s elite society, two cunning and wealthy step-siblings, Kathryn and Sebastian, embark on a twisted game of seduction and manipulation.

They enter a wager: if Sebastian fails to seduce the virtuous new headmaster’s daughter, Annette, he must relinquish his prized car to Kathryn. However, if he succeeds, he wins the ultimate prize of Kathryn herself.

Needless to say, parents are better off taking the kids to Frozen in this Easter break.

But for everyone else, Cruel Intentions is one of the hottest shows in London right now.

The show has been adapted for the stage by original screenwriter Roger Kumble together with Jordan Ross and Lindsey Rosin.

A jukebox musical, it is scored by a masterful millennial soundtrack with hits from the likes of the Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera and Natalie Imbruglia. There’s an argument about exploring the movie with an original score, but would it have ever matched these songs?

My performance featured understudy Verity Thompson stepping in the role of Kathryn (usually played by Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky), showcasing powerful vocals and a killer strut.

Daniel Bravo pulls off an acting masterclass with a charming and captivating performance despite taking on the truly awful character of Sebastian.

Rose Galbraith is hilarious as Cecile while Abbie Budden offers an infectious sweetness as Annette.

Then there’s the double act of Barney Wilkinson and Josh Barnett who treat us to a very unique performance of the Spice Girls as secret lovers Blaine and Greg.

But it was Jess Buckby as Mrs. Bunny Caldwell who got the biggest reaction of the night with a farcical performance of No Scrubs.

Even in the darker moments, Jonathan O’Boyle’s production amps up the camp while Gary Lloyd’s choreography is perky, if sometimes a little corny.

Polly Sullivan’s design makes full use of all available space at The Other Palace, although the revolve feels somewhat underused.

Overall the show doesn’t quite pull off intertwining its story and songs as well as some other jukebox musicals like & Juliet, but it is still sure one hell of a night out.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Book tickets from £31

At the The Other Palace currently booking to 19 May 2024

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About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.