Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical takes audiences on a nostalgic and raunchy trip down memory lane, adapting the 1999 teen riff on Les Liaisons Dangereuses into a deliciously entertaining stage production under the direction of Jonathan O’Boyle. Taking centre stage at The Other Palace, the musical follows in the footsteps of previous 90s film-to-stage adaptations, taking over from productions like Heathers: The Musical.


Set against the backdrop of New York, the story revolves around the wealthy and manipulative step-siblings, Sebastian Valmont (Daniel Bravo) and Kathryn Merteuil (Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky). Their twisted bet regarding the seduction of Annette Hargrove (Abbie Budden), the new headmaster's daughter, propels the characters into a web of deceit, seduction, and betrayal, ultimately revealing the darker sides of their personalities.

The musical is a blend of an undeniably addictive soundtrack and escapist entertainment, with a dose of sexually explicit content that adds an extra layer of edginess. From the minimalist set design by Polly Sullivan, heavily reliant on the revolve stage and occasional set pieces, to Nick Richings' stunning lighting design, the production creates a visually captivating atmosphere that sets the stage for the drama.


The dialogue, mostly lifted straight from the film, is cleverly interspersed with a plethora of 90s hit songs. While this choice contributes to the overall nostalgic experience, it's important to note that some language reflects the time in which the story is set, potentially causing discomfort for certain audience members.

The musical journey is punctuated by entertaining musical interludes, featuring iconic 90s hits such as “Losing My Religion”, “Torn”, “The Sign”," "No Scrubs," "Genie in a Bottle," "Bye Bye Bye," "Sometimes," and the showstopper "Bittersweet Symphony", amongst others. Under the musical direction of Denise Crowley, these songs not only bring the plot and characters to life, but also delight various generations in the audience who might recognise these familiar riffs and tunes. The choreography by Gary Lloyd is slick and sharp, paying homage to iconic 90s dance styles seen on MTV. The nods to bubble gum pop dance make it an engaging experience for the audience, especially those who came of age during that era.


Bravo and McCaulsky shine in their roles as the charismatic and privileged step-siblings. Their performances exude sex appeal, charisma, and showcase their vocal prowess. Sharing the spotlight is the supporting cast and ensemble who deserve a standing ovation of their own. With a wonderful blend of talent and skill, they elevate the scenes, making this a show stopper. A special mention goes to Rose Galbraith, making her professional debut as the innocent Cecile Caldwell. Her charming and girl-next-door portrayal, particularly in "I’ll Make Love To You," highlights her range and ability to convey emotion through song.


Cruel Intentions is sexy, slick and seductive, delivering entertainment in spades. It invites everyone to step into the indulgent world of the '90s, promising a guilty pleasure musical for both fans of the original film and those looking for a night of infectious, unapologetic fun. This may not be a production for those seeking something more sophisticated, but for those who are looking to indulge in some cheeky light-hearted fun, this is definitely for you. The question remains:  Are you in, or are you out?

Cruel Intentions: The ’90s Musical plays at The Other Palace until 14 April. Tickets: here.


Review: Caleb Lee           Photos: Pamela Raith