Home Estate Planning Why we’re all loving Cruel Intentions again – as it returns to London theatre

Why we’re all loving Cruel Intentions again – as it returns to London theatre

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A new musical and film adaptation have dropped at the same time, says Olivia Plumtree

Way before the Saltburn-effect took hold, there was Cruel Intentions. Apparently, there’s just something about beautiful, rich, young things being scheming and evil that is quite delicious to watch. If you’re looking for a way to liven up this cold, seemingly eternal January, you could do far worse than a trip to Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical.

Playing at The Other Palace and from the creators of Heathers: The Musical, it follows the plot of the 1999 hit starring Reese Witherspoon. Stepsiblings Sebastian and Kathryn ensnare their Upper East Side schoolmates (and each other) in a dark, twisted and seductive revenge plot. There are some pretty major setbacks and a delightful subplot that unfolds between the vivacious Blaine and moody, closeted jock, Greg. It’s a nostalgic romp through all your favourite nineties hits.

We get TLC, Natalia Imbruglia, R.E.M, The Verve. A couple more Sauvignon Blancs down the hatch and I suspect that some of the audience would be doing their best to join the cast on stage for a singalong. The cast is brilliant, by the way. Daniel Bravo cuts a fine Sebastian Valmont, smouldering in snug cashmere and Matrix sunglasses, and Abbie Budden as Annette gives some truly spectacular vocal performances. Jess Buckby’s Mrs. Caldwell shuffling around the stage to No Scrubs, clad in a Barbie-pink skirt suit, is brilliantly funny.

Read more: How this new London theatre is supporting the West End and creatives

Cruel Intentions is the theatre equivalent of bottomless brunch: outrageously fun, a bit naughty and secretly beloved by your straight male friends. Yes, it’s tacky, but it knows this. The original film was tacky. We love tacky.

With the Mean Girls musical reboot hitting cinemas this month, there’s clearly a growing appetite for this kind of thing. Harking back to a bygone era, it feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure: an opportunity to pretend that the last 25 years never happened. We’re all two decades younger, more beautiful and less stressed. Sign me up.

Cruel Intentions: The 90s Musical plays at The Other Palace in Victoria until 14 April

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