The strapline for Ruthless! asks the question, ‘HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO TO GET WHAT YOU WANT?’ In the celebrity-obsessed world that we live, seemingly the answer must be, anything! The show’s storyline tells of ‘the beautiful and talented eight-year-old, Tina Denmark. who will do anything to play the lead in her school play.’ Seemingly, a simple premise for this cult off-Broadway musical from 1992, but rest assured there are plenty of twists and turns en route to a hysterical and fantastical denouement – no spoilers here!
|Jason Gardiner Kim Maresca
With music by Marvin Laird and book and lyrics by Joel Paley, Ruthless! boasts a stellar cast, most notably the fantastic Tracie Bennett, fresh from Follies at the National Theatre, who knocks it out of the park with the song, I Hate Musicals – an anthem to musicals (obviously) but with the most reliable references to Gypsy’s Momma Rose. Personally, it’s worth the price of a ticket merely to see Tracie Bennett again. Harriet Thorpe, Lara Denning, Kim Maresca, fresh from Ruthless! Off-Broadway, complete a fabulous ensemble that holds this wild production together and makes you laugh out loud at their coldblooded conniving antics!
I must also mention the four young actresses (sadly not identified at the performance) who play the crucial character of Tina Denmark – Fifi Bloomsbury-Kheir, Anya Evans, Charlotte Breen and Lucy Simmonds – all of whom must be able to give good jazz hands, tap and splits in this precociously privileged role.
So with ruthless honesty, I must admit, I left the theatre with a big smile on my face, have giggled and laughed at the pure fun and outrageous infectious comedy of what is indeed a cult classic!
Ruthless! runs at the Arts Theatre until 23 June 2018