Doing a show about marriage is a brave move. All the statistics point to people getting hitched later in life than ever before; more and more are avoiding it altogether. Two in five marriages end in divorce while a third don’t make it past the 20th anniversary.

In The Brides Of Bluebeard, The Ruby Dolls lay out the story of not one but four marriages, albeit all to the eponymous groom. Is he an eternal romantic, some kind of masochist or is there a dark plan afoot?

The Ruby Doll’s foursome of Susanna Fiore, Jessica Sedler, Rebecca Shanks and Tara Siddall are ably aided and abetted by the musical director and accompanist Benjamin Cox and, between them, they lay out a gothic fairytale stretching across decades.

For this particular outing, each of the Dolls assumes the role of one of Bluebeard’s wives. There’s the news presenter, the hippy model, the aristocrat and the opera singer, all stylishly distinguished through dress as well as physical and vocal mannerisms. All but the latest wife have died in mysterious circumstances and Bluebeard’s latest bride is on the hunt for answers. What will the bride find? [cue violent violin screech.]

Musical harmony groups are certainly not a scarce resource in London but The Ruby Dolls are a different breed to most in the way they put together shows. As well as their own original songs, they throw in mashups and updated arrangements of old songs. They cover topics as different as the works of Berthold Brecht and their own immigrant forebears. They aren’t afraid to experiment with the theatrical format, whether that means kicking down the fourth wall or including humorous “meta” moments.

For Bluebeard, all of that is thrown in with some considerable aplomb. The songs have individual and collective appeal (a cast recording wouldn’t go amiss, hint hint). Some, like this mash-up of Beyonce’s Crazy in Love and Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black, are simply touched by genius.

The live effect isn’t all it could be as Fiore’s voice gets lost in the mix but her voice is better elsewhere and, as the group’s choreographer, she finds novel and intriguing ways to physically express what is being told through song and prose.

Musically, Cox provides superlative contributions to Bluebeard and raises the quality throughout. Together with the Dolls, he has created songs which are punchy and engaging. Moreover, they come with memorable lyrics and hummable melodies, something decidedly lacking from the more recent West End musicals (Groundhog Day aside).

In telling a folk story framed in themes as old as time, the Ruby Dolls have found a refreshingly sincere and heart-touching way to connect those themes with a modern audience. As with their other shows, there is an intelligence at work here which goes far beyond the basic premise of Bluebeard. Between their thoughtful approach to music and drama and their brave and smart choices of subject, the Ruby Dolls are a marriage made in heaven.

This Is Cabaret rating ★★★★

For information on where you can catch The Ruby Dolls in action, check out their official website.