Ruthless @ Arts Theatre*

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐
Tickets and more information: http://www.ruthlessthemusical.com
Running until: 23rd June 2018
Production photos by: Alistair Muir

After premiering off-Broadway in 2015, Joel Paley and Marvin Laird’s all female, all camp musical Ruthless! has found it’s way to London’s West End. The show follows Tina Denmark, a very talented 8 year old who will literally do anything to get the lead in her school play. As a result, family secrets start to unravel which ultimately lead to an explosive ending and poses the question, how much are people willing to do to become a star?

'Ruthless' Play performed at the Arts Theatre, London,UK

The role of Tina is alternated between four talented young actresses. At the performance I attended, the role was played by Anya Evans whose portrayal managed to be sickly sweet while at the same time being sinister and borderline evil. Her relationship with her mother, Judy (played brilliantly by Kim Maresca) turns from sweet to sour as a plot twist leads them to compete for the rightful star of the show.

'Ruthless' Musical performed at the Arts Theatre, London, UK

There is also brilliant support from Tracie Bennett as Lina Encore, Tina’s grandmother. She is an absolute scene stealer in one number before the end of act 1, ironically titled “I Hate Musicals.” My biggest surprise in the casting was Dancing On Ice Jason Gardiner as Sylvia St. Croix, Tina’s manager, making his return to the West End after 18 years. And it was like he never left. Gardiner makes use of the underwritten character in act 1 but really comes to shine in act 2, when yet another plot twist is revealed, with sass, wit and a set of killer pipes to match.

'Ruthless' Musical performed at the Arts Theatre, London, UK

However, the direction of the show really lets down this incredibly talented ensemble. From the facial expressions to the humour, it is all very, very animated to the point where it makes the show feel very gimmicky and after a while I found it becoming boring. There are so many plot twists that, by the end, they felt quite obvious. Ruthless has it’s funny moments and it is certainly different from a lot of musicals in the West End. I just wish the production was a more polished.

Until next time,

hayley-sprout-transparent

 

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