Saturday, March 18, 2017

review - RUTHLESS! - Desert Stages Theatre

Matthew R. Harris and Olivia Rose Feldman
Photo by Paige Corbin
highlights from local critics reviews - (click link at bottom of each review to read complete review)

Click here for more information on this production that runs through April 9th.

"Joel Paley and Marvin Laird's Ruthless! is a hilarious, campy, and utterly ridiculous musical send-up of hard-driving stage moms, relentless child actors, thrilling backstage dramas, and hilarious musical comedies. With two talented leads and spot on direction, Desert Stages Theatre's production is an absolute laugh-filled riot.  The plot follows young and talented child performer Tina Denmark, her simple and untalented mom Judy, and talent agent Sylvia St. Croix who believes Tina has what it takes to be a star. ...Paley's script is a satirical take-off on The Bad Seed, which featured an adorable tyke who just happens to be a murderess. Paley turns the young girl into a demanding child star and adds in elements from backstage musicals like Gypsy,...with a little bit of All About Eve and Mame thrown in as well. Paley's witty book and clever lyrics, along with Marvin Laird's tuneful score, result in a show that has plenty of big laughs and endearing characters. This is a script with many funny moments, and director Jere Van Patten has not only found a talented cast who all do fairly well in delivering rich, humorous portrayals but he also adds in numerous sight gags that get some big laughs. The cast is led by Olivia Rose Feldman as Tina and Matthew R. Harris as Sylvia, both of whom deliver exceptional portrayals of these larger than life comical creatures .... Feldman is simply sensational as Tina....Harris is superb as Sylvia....He uses his fine-tuned comic delivery to ensure every one of Sylvia's witty lines pops....While the rest of the cast don't quite match the refined vocal and comic abilities that Feldman and Harris display, they all work well together to deliver a rewarding mix of zany characters....Ruthless! may be an extremely campy musical, but it is also an incredibly sweet and charming story about families. With superb turns from Matthew Harris and Olivia Rose Feldman, DST's production is fast paced, fun, and filled with an abundance of laugh out loud moments. I had a silly grin on my face from beginning to end."  -Gil Benbrook, Talkin' Broadway (click here to read the complete review)

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