Ahead of its opening this week, we went backstage at rehearsals for new musical Ruthless.
A cult classic off-Broadway, Ruthless the Musical remains relatively unknown to UK audiences. When it was first performed 25 years ago, the cast boasted names such as Britney Spears and Natalie Portman (this was before they both reached superstardom) and cheekily poked fun at the crazy world of auditions and cut-throat celebrity culture and status.
The musical returned to Off-Broadway in 2015 to rave review and now finally makes its way to London following a critically acclaimed run.
Narratively, we follow eight-year-old Tina Denmark, who believes she was born to entertain and will stop at nothing to get the role she wants. Under the tutelage of overbearing agent Sylvia St. Croix, Tina auditions for the school play, with hilarious (and slightly murderous) repercussions.
In this production, Dancing On Ice villain Jason Gardiner takes on the role of Sylvia St Croix, while Kim Maresca reprises her Off-Broadway role as Tina’s mother Judy. The role of Tina is shared by four amazing young actresses – Lucy Simmonds, Charlotte Breen, Anya Evans and Fifi Bloomsbury-Khier – and the rest of the cast includes Lara Denning, the brilliant Harriet Thorpe and current Olivier-nominee Tracie Bennett (Follies).
We went backstage during rehearsals for the show to meet the cast and see how it looks in action.
Here’s Jason Gardiner talking about the show:
And here’s the four girls set to play Tina Denmark discussing the iconic role:
From the snippets we saw – which included a sneak peek of the opening two scenes and a hilarious number by Tracie Bennett’s musical-hating grandmother – Ruthless is set to be a rip-roaring tale of bitchiness and merciless competition.
And don’t be fooled by the cutesy artwork. There’s foul language, pithy dialogue, clever plot twists and witty pop culture references that are sure to delight grown-up audiences.
Ruthless the Musical opens at the Arts Theatre in London on 16 March. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.co.uk. Check back soon for our full review of the show.