‘Cruel Intentions: The Musical’ Theater Review: Campy, Tongue-In-Cheek Fun
Cruel Intentions, the soapy 80s movie starring Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Michelle Geller and Ryan Phillippe, is the latest film to inspire a fun-filled stage musical. Delivered with camp effect, the cast hits the major plot points with gusto interspersing classic pop songs as they go. Staged in the cozy Greenwich Village nightclub La Poisson Rouge with a four-piece band on stage, this stripped-down tuneful version doesn’t go for the full Broadway treatment. Instead, the more basic approach works surprisingly well with little character exposition and lots chart toppers from the original film and new ones added into the mix.
Jaded Sebastian (Constantine Rousouli) and evil stepsister Kathryn (Lauren Zakrin) play bawdy prep school games wreaking havoc as they go. Sebastian falls for the virgin Annette (Carrie St. Louis) and then all hell breaks loose as Kathryn goads him into taking her virginity. While the cast shows strong vocal skills, Rousouli commands the stage with his powerful voice and movie-star charisma. With tongue planted firmly in cheek (if not elsewhere), the cast belts out classics from Ace of Ace’s “The Sign” to Sixpence None The Richer’s “Kiss Me.” High school histrionics have never been such a giggle.