Monday, 19 March 2018

First look: Ruthless! The Musical at the Arts Theatre

Ruthless! is about to open at the Arts Theatre and the company has opened the doors to the rehearsal room to offer a sneak peek on the most outrageous musical that has ever graced the West End. Acting as the executive producer and general manager for the London run, the Menier Chocolate Factory is currently hosting the star-studded cast, who we found tirelessly going over the dazzling musical numbers. 

A frothy Kim Maresca reprises her role as Judy Denmark, after a successful off-Broadway run. During the taster event, she interpreted the opening motif Tina's Mother and was soon joined on stage by the delicious Dancing on Ice judge Jason Gardiner. His presence in drag as Tina's agent Sylvia St. Croix is a guaranteed recipe for success.

Tina's drunken grandmother is brought to life by the legendary Tracie Bennett, whereas the protagonist herself, the eight-year-old Tina, is played in turns by four exceptionally talented young performers: Charlotte Breen, Lucy Simmonds, Anya Evans, and Fifi Bloomsbury-Khier.

Entertaining the public with tap routines and not-so-heavenly lyrics, they impersonate an ambitious schoolgirl, who's prepared to do absolutely anything to obtain the lead in the annual school play. Since Joel Paley and Marvin Laird premiered their brazen musical in 1992, the unorthodox role has already belonged to the likes of Laura Bell Bundy, Britney Spears and Natalie Portman.

“We kill people, we take drugs, we smoke and curse. Lots of naughty stuff we can’t do [in real life]. So that is a lot of fun,” said Simmonds, who's only 12 and has already appeared in Mary Poppins and Les Misérables. 

Directed by Richard Fitch, with choreography by Rebecca Howell, design by
Morgan Large, lighting by Tim Lutkin, sound by Gregory Clarke and musical supervision by Gareth Valentine, Ruthless! receives at the Arts Theatre its first major production in the UK, after a 2002 fringe staging at the Stratford Circus Arts Centre.

Famously spoofing Broadway hits like Gypsy and Mame, as well as the iconic films The Bad Seed and All About Eve, this slightly inappropriate but helplessly funny musical begins its life on 16th March, with a strictly limited run until 23rd June. Press night in on March 27th. 

Preview by Marianna Meloni
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