The Other Palace
11th Jan to 14th Apr 2024
“Step-siblings Sebastian Valmont and Kathryn Merteuil, manipulative monsters flushed with their own sexual prowess, engage in a cruel bet: Kathryn goads Sebastian into attempting to seduce Annette Hargrove, the headmaster’s virtuous daughter. Weaving a web of secrets and temptation, as the two set out to destroy an innocent girl – and anyone who gets in their way – their vengeful crusade wreaks havoc on the students at their exclusive Manhattan high school and the diabolical duo become entangled in their own mesh of deception and unexpected romance, with explosive results… Based on Roger Kumble’s classic hit film Cruel Intentions, starring Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe, Sarah Michelle Gellar and Selma Blair – this year celebrating its 25th anniversary – and also inspired by the French novel, Les Liaisons Dangereuses”
Review by Richard Lambert, 5 Stars
How do you take a rather dark film and put it on stage as a musical? Well, this is the production that shows you how it’s done!
Everything about this production is rather saucy postcard fun. From the one-liners, the characterisations, the staging, the lighting, the plot. It’s a laugh out loud musical parody comedy romp through the 1st half setup. Some fab performances from the cast, all very comfortable in their roles and bringing a lot to their characters.
Special mention has to be given to Abbie Budden‘s vocals, Jess Buckby‘s attitude and Rose Galbraith‘s brazen solidity. But the star has to be Josh Barnett‘s (Blaine Tuttle) performance throughout as he nailed the moves, threw shade and sung his songs so naturally – incredibly charismatic for every second of his persona.
The choreography is superb in this production and enables the stage revolve to work very effectively in many of the scenes. The highlight scene in Penn Street station where Jonathan O’Boyles‘ direction, Nick Richings lighting and the haze effects change the mood from comedy to emotional drama. The stage is then set for the darker scenes of the production to play out as we step forward from that scene. It was genius directing to use that scene to take us deeper into the drama and the power play that follows.
This is when the Set Design comes into its own. Clever use of the stage revolve which has been painted as a chess board for the “players” allows the dynamism to accelerate with characters coming and going and observing and learning from what they gather, building up to the final exposure which erupts in full public view of the school and us in the audience who have just been flyered with details of the scandal.
This is the genius musical production that has to be seen. I’ve never liked Heathers, would not recommend Six but this one – defintely go as it’s superb fun and just brilliant!
Photo credit: Pamela Raith
Jess Buckby (Mrs. Bunny Caldwell/Dr. Greenbaum)
Abbie Budden (Annette Hargrove) Rose Galbraith (Cecile Caldwell/Marci Greenbaum) Nickcolia King-N’Da (Ronald Clifford) Rhianne-Louise McCaulsky (Kathryn Merteuil) Barney Wilkinson (Greg)Daniel Bravo (Sebastian Valmont)
Nathan Lorainey-DineenCharlotte O’RourkeVerity Thompson