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  • Review by john Murray

Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical (****4 stars)

I vaguely remember the movie some years ago and I did hear this was to become a musical and most unusual then to see this as a Fringe production and not a theatre space – actually the Spiegeltent Palais Du Variete at Assembly Square Gardens.

With no ‘name’ stars announced that would warrant a touring UK production the quality stamp here was the producer – Bill Kenwright Ltd and the hint that this was a try out prior to a West End production. That certainly helped sales and the buzz and the fact that the show had a degree of success in the US as an Off-Broadway production in 2017. But this is Fringe 2019 with a typical 10 minute ‘get in’ time and includes set, musicians and radio mics. To facilitate this the set was minimal, a catwalk, several entrance stairs and two luxury sofas in from of the partially hidden band.

The cast were young, fit and immaculately prepared for an almost non-stop musical. Based in Manhattan the plot involves step-siblings and a bet to deflower the headmaster’s daughter and all the sub-relationships that get in the way. Comical and sexy at times the 1990’s pop songs woven into the story actually do suggest a Bittersweet Symphony. The hint of pop dance too came through as these well-rehearsed young voices carried the songs with ease. We had Kiss Me, Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Torn, Bye Bye Bye and Genie In A Bottle to remind the 90’s audience of their youth from the teen hit selection.

In the end the minimal set was adequate, and the actors were truly amazing in their parts and the confined space. Can’t wait for the big production now.

Assembly Spiegeltent George Square Gardens 20:30 till Aug 25

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