Review: Heathers the Musical

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“September 1st, 1989. Dear Diary ….”
Heathers may have begun its life in the late 80’s as a box office flop, but has since transformed into a cult classic and a firm favourite with fans across the globe.
It’s only natural that as with all good teen movies it’s since received a musical make-over filled with bright costumes and an incredibly catchy score.

“Veronica Sawyer is just another of the nobodies dreaming of a better day. But when she’s unexpectedly taken under the wings of three beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity finally start to come true. That is until JD turns up, the mysterious teen rebel who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it’s murder to be a somebody …”

It may be set in the 80’s but this new production works brilliantly to strip back the era and make the show relevant for its young fan base, many of whom weren’t even born when the film first premiered.
We see our protagonist, Veronica, dealing with an environment which we all had to face at school. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all experience the bullies, the a-holes throwing their weight around the canteen and the longing to just survive till the summer holidays (but you’ve hopefully never murdered your worst enemy).

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Heathers the Musical is co-written by Laurence O’Keefe. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Another popular teen movie transformed by O’Keefe into a stage musical? This is bound to be a fun and happy story”. I mean … you’re not wrong, but one thing is for certain. Heathers is certainly more savage than its sister musical Legally Blonde.

The show tackles some incredibly dark subjects such as peer pressure, body image and bulimia, mental health and teen suicide, rape and mass school shootings.
When dealing with subjects as deep and as important as these, there is an incredibly fine line between satire and bad taste. Unfortunately I felt the production was often tiptoeing over the line of bad taste and wading disrespectful waters which left me feeling uncomfortable within my own skin.

One of my biggest problems with Heather is the hype surrounding the production. I went to the Theatre Royal Haymarket almost expecting to see a show hand delivered by the gods, but was instead left feeling slightly underwhelmed. Don’t get me wrong I did thoroughly enjoy the show, but I just felt as though I was missing out on the excitement as I hadn’t gone out of my way to study the Heathers bible it seemed everybody else had memorised. Every time one of the well marketed phrases or poses occurred the audience around me become practically hysterical with their applause and admiration. As much as I love seeing audiences adoring a show, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was the only girl in class who hadn’t done her summer reading.

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Now I’m going to stop being so doom and gloom because as I said, I did thoroughly enjoy the show. The costumes were beautifully bright and the score was fantastic with numbers like Dead Girl Walking, Candy Store and Lifeboat practically stopping the show.
The whole cast involved in this production were brilliant, but on a stage of stars Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jodie Steele were supernovas who simply stole the show.

Heathers the Musical is fabulous, fun and fierce. If you decide to take a trip to Westerberg make sure you’re wearing your thickest skin possible. This is not a musical for the faint hearted or the easily offended.

Heathers is running at the Theatre Royal Haymarket till Saturday 24th November.

Cast at the performance I attended: Carrie Hope Fletcher, Jamie Muscato, Jodie Steele, T’Shan Williams, Sophie Issacs, Nathan Amzi, Dominic Anderson, Jon Boydon, Christopher Chung, Rebecca Lock, Janny O’Leary, Merryl Ansah, Lauren Drew, Charlotte Jaconelli, Alex Jame-Hatton, John Lumsden, Olivia Moore and Brandon Lee Sears.

Images courtesy of Google Images.

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