Tuesday, 24 June 2014
If you have never heard of this musical don't worry this is an Australian Premiere! This is a little surprising as it opened off-Broadway at the Players Theatre on March 13, 1992 and closed January 24, 1993 after 342 performances. It was also nominated for several awards and Joel Paley won a Drama Desk Award for outstanding lyrics.
The cast for this production has some of Australia's finest woman with many decades of experience - Katrina Retallick, Meredith O'Reilly and Geraldine Turner, so as you can imagine the singing was superb. Katrina played Judy Denmark, and it was a truly outstanding performance, especially in the opening scenes as the 1950's blonde bimbo Mommy! Tina Denmark played by Madison Russo again she played the perfect star brat! Understandably, she was rather nervous on the opening night as were a few of the others, but I think as the season goes on they will relax into their role some more. I think the actual set had something to do with the flow of the play too. Obviously, during rehearsals they would have practiced on a flat stage; but the set has a revolving platform to change the scenes. This was a good idea and did provide a stage within a stage, however, there was quite a step up which didn't help the choreography and general movement. The costumes and the actual set furnishings were excellent good, again particularly for the 1950's scenes and the hats!
The music was very good, no large chorus songs but certainly a few tunes that the actors could sink their teeth into and show off their singing talents. The music was live and on the whole very good, I did think that the keyboard player and pianist were out of sync a few times and it was a pity that the staging didn't allow us to see them all.
The story of Ruthless is about the cut throat world of musical stardom. Tina wants to be a star and will do anything to get that leading role. Her mum, Judy is the dutiful mum but feels something is amiss in her life, other than her husband. Sylvia St Croix is a manager and wants to manage Tina, she again is a Ruthless character that will do anything to make it big. Lita Encore, is Judy's adoptive mum is a critic and she sing a really great song all about why she hates musicals! There are a couple of other woman's characters but the plot is simple. Tina kills to get the main role, Judy turns her in to the police and becomes a star herself. Tina then "reformed" comes home to find her world has changed and ..... well I don't want to spoil the end!
What I did want to know was, what happened to Judy's baby?
For more information and book your seats - Seymour Centre
Photo credit: Blueprint Studios