Review: Cruel Intentions the 90s Musical at the Palais du Variete, Edinburgh Fringe

Writer: Roger Kumble, Jordan Ross & Lindsey Rosin

Director: Jonathan O’Boyle

The production debuted over in the states four years ago and this year Bill Kenright premiers the production in the UK during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. This saucy, retro musical certainly goes down well with the crowd.

Following very closely to the original film, Cruel Intentions is a 90s fest of pop classic hits from the era including Torn, I Want It That Way and Genie in a Bottle. Each one blends into the plot and creates a moment of humour while adding some extra depth to the characters at the same time.  It’s slightly corny but it works to great effect.

The large cast of recognisable faces from musical theatre perform the songs with the sass, charm and the charisma they need as members of the upper east side. Dominic Andersen plays Sebastian Valmont and his deep musical tones work well as the sex-obsessed youth who stars to develop feelings for the love interest he persues.  He has the most character development through the piece as unexpectedly transforms from someone trying to maintain his reputation, to someone who wants more from life. Anderson’s incredible acrobatic skills are put to good use in his closing moments too.

Rebecca Gilhooley plays the conniving Kathryn Merteuil. Gilhooley plays up to the sinister side of the character very well. Dean John-Wilson as beefcake jock Greg McConnell and Scott Hunter who plays Blaine Tuttle get some of the biggest laughs of the night as they re-create some great nostalgic 90s boyband moves during Bye, Bye Bye.

Characters are dotted around the venue during the performance and sometimes mingle with the audience. It breaks down the fourth wall and creates this enclosed bubble where the reputation you have with your peers means everything. It’s a clever move by director Jonathan O’Boyle.

This throwback musical is sexy and sinister yet sweet and sincere. Theatre isn’t always about creating something brand new. The musical is a great piece of escapism where you can break away from the outside world and lose yourself within the inner suburbs of the lower east side where the youth of the 90s run riot.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

5money* Decision based on a ticket price of £15.50 and an 80p booking fee. For more info on this value for money rating please visit here: Introducing a new kind of rating

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