Cruel Intentions: the 90’s musical

I was obsessed with the film ‘Cruel Intentions’ when I was a teenager, I thought it was so cool the New York Upper East side, the clothes, the car (a vintage jaguar xk140 roadster) but most of all I was taken by Sebastian Valmont, the character played by Ryan Phillippe. I even ordered a pair of lookalike sunglasses from a then small internet start-up called ‘As Seen on Screen’ several years before they rebranded as simply ASOS and became the internet clothing giant they are today. This was several years before ‘Gossip Girl’ came to our screens so it was my first introduction to the glamorous lifestyle of the Manhattan elite. The film is a modern retelling of the classic French novel ‘Les Liaisons dangereuses’ and the cast is superb with Sarah Michelle Gellar, Reese Witherspoon and Selma Blair among others. It really is a excellent film and one i have watched countless times. It’s currently free to watch on Amazon Prime in the UK and if you haven’t seen it i can highly recommend.

Anyway suffice to say when I first heard they were going to be doing a musical version of the film and was coming to London I knew I had to go. I went with my favourite gay networking group ‘It’s culture innit’. It was at The Other Place Theatre, one of my favourite London theatres, as because it is a newer built venue has brilliant sights lines and no annoying pillars or blind spots blocking the view of the stage. I’ve previously been to see my friend Giles in the Nigel Slater play ‘Toast’ there.

 

 

‘Cruel Intentions: the 90’s musical’ is a jukebox style musical and included many of the songs used in the film, the soundtrack of which by the way is brilliant and another favourite of mine. The end scene of the movie where they use the Verve song ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ is iconic and one of the best bits of the whole film. They also cleverly slotted it many other late 90s classic pop songs including some Backstreet Boys, N’sync, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. The introduction of TLC’s ‘No scrubs’ and Natalie Imbruglia’s version of ‘Torn’ were particular favourites. I was interested to see how closely they stuck to the story/ script of the movie and they really did, as someone who can pretty much quote the entire movie verbatim, this was excellent, though i did notice they cut some of the slightly less PC words out. The two main stars Daniel Bravo as Sebastian and Rhianne-Louis McCaulsky as Kathryn were both superbly cast. The whole thing was funny, nostalgia filled and I utterly loved it from start to finish. Amazing film, amazing musical adaptation, brilliant.. It’s only on til the end of May, so grab your tickets while you can. I’m genuinely tempted to go back and see it again.

Ain’t too proud

Ain’t too proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations is the West End debut of the 2018 jukebox musical all about the classic R&B Motown band, The Temptations. You’ll know them from song’s like ‘My Girl’, ‘Get ready’, ‘Papa was a rollin’ stone’ and of course the song the title of the musical comes from ‘Ain’t too proud to beg’. It’s from the same producers that did Jersey Boys, the brilliant musical about the Four Tops, as such it does feel very similar in style. As it was press night we had an extra special guest appearance at the end of evening from the founder and only original Temptations member left in the band, Otis Williams. I went with my friend Simon and we loved it.

& Juliet

Loved, loved this musical. Utterly camp. All the music is my exact era as a grew up. Britney Spears, Backstreet boys, N’Sync, P!nk, Kelly Clarkson and a bit of later stuff by Jessie J. Fantastic songs, I wondered how they got the right all the rights to the songs and it wasn’t til afterwards that I realised that all the songs were all written by Swedish pop songwriter extraordinaire, Max Martin, who has had more number one hits than any other songwriter in history.

The story is loosely based on ‘Romeo and Juliet’ but with a comedy musical twist and focuses on a “what if” scenario where Juilet doesn’t die at the end of the story. It’s cleverly done and really fun. Really enjoyed it and as a jukebox style musical it was great to know all the music and be able to mouth along to all the songs.

 

Sister Act – The Musical

I had such a fun evening yesterday at the press night for Sister Act – the Musical at the Hammersmith Apollo with my friend Craig. This production has been delayed and delayed because of Covid and originally the main role of Delores was meant to be performed by Whoopi Goldberg, who was obviously the actress in the original movie. Anyway now because of the delay they have drafted in the wonderful Beverley Knight instead. She’s literally come almost straight off the musical ‘The Drifters Girl’ with barely a chance to rest, she’s a very in demand star and you can tell why with this show. Her voice really is phenomenal, she is so great in this role. Truly one of the best vocalist and. performers in musical theatre at the moment, Jennifer Saunders who is playing Mother Superior was hilarious, her comic timing as you would expect is spot on. The supporting cast is similarly superb, particularly note must also go to Lesley Joseph as an ageing rapping nun. Keala Settle most famous for her role as the bearded lady in the film ‘The Greatest Showman’ and her beautiful performance of the song ‘This is me’ (for which she was nominated and imho should have won the Oscar for) was great but almost felt overlooked with such an all star cast. This has to to be one of the best shows on in London at the moment and I highly recommend catching it while you can.

Everybody’s talking about Jamie

As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community I’d been wanting to see ‘Everybody’s talking about Jamie’ for ages. It’s based on the brilliant BBC documentary ‘Jamie: Drag Queen at 16’. The musical follows a 16 year old teenager as he overcomes bullies and prejudice to become a fabulous drag queen.

So when my friends David and Simon mentioned they were going to see it I crashed their date night and became their spare wheel. Only joking I did ask if I could join them and they very kindly said it was fine. We had a lovely pre-theatre dinner round the corner from the theatre at Sophie’s Steakhouse in Soho.

I enjoyed the show, but the other boys were less impressed. We all though it wasn’t quite as slick a production as we would expect from a big West End show. Almost seemed quite amateurish in parts. We’re not sure if it was possibly because of a recent change in cast. We all agreed the second half was better than then first. The whole show is camp as tits, really heartwarming and positive so I still enjoyed it. As an extra bonus which I hadn’t realised when booking the tickets, Ru Paul’s Drag Race star, Bianca del Rio, was back starring in the show, so that was nice as I’m a big fan of her. So while we all enjoyed it, me particularly, we feel liked perhaps they needed to slightly concentrate a bit more on finer details of the production.