Following a sold out workshop last year, the eagerly anticipated and long awaited production of Heathers the Musical at The Other Palace has been hitting the stagey headlines for months. But is the hype worth it or are we all getting our scrunchies in a twist?
For those not born in the 80s… Heathers is a cult film boldly adapted into a musical by Legally Blonde writer Laurence O’Keefe. It shows us an everyday American high school, Westerberg High, through the eyes of Veronica Sawyer, a misfit whose forgery prowess gets her noticed by the three most popular girls, all named Heather. After being accepted into their group, she meets new kid JD. After falling for him she finds the combination of her new relationship and newfound popularity could have deathly consequences.
The pumped up 80s soundtrack is the pinnacle of this show with the sure-fire hits sporting witty, comical lyrics. The show has had several tweaks and rewrites since the workshop, and even from the original off-Broadway production, including the omission of Blue and inclusion of two new songs. I wasn’t wowed by the new additions, maybe just in comparison to an already strong soundtrack, but they affirmed my belief that the script at times just needs a little push. This show has a serious message but is incredibly tongue in cheek and sometimes the joke doesn’t go far enough. As JD himself says in the movie… “the extreme always seems to make an impression”. Blue was one of these extreme moments I loved and I thought they could get a little bit closer to the line in places.
Well, that’s all the (incredibly nit-picky) criticism out the way. The show is fantastic! Hilarious yet thought-provoking. Each character perfectly depicts the different emotions you go through at school whether it’s not fitting in, not getting the guy or feeling trapped in a life you feel you don’t belong in. This is why the show has such a draw – despite being so far-fetched, it still feels real and relatable.
A stellar cast bring the well-known students of Westerberg High to life led by Carrie Hope Fletcher (Addams Family, Les Miserables). She plays a different Veronica to original portrayals but it totally works. She is somehow even more believable as the girl plucked out of obscurity to play with the popular girls and her vocal talent is undeniable. Opposite her Jamie Muscato gives us a smooth yet haunting JD. Sophie Isaacs (who played Heather McNamara in the workshop) still wows with an incredibly funny and vocally dazzling performance. Other highlights include Rebecca Lock who leads Shine a Light with profound hilarity and dynamic duo Edward Baruwa and Jon Boydon with the indescribable song Dead Gay Son.
If you’re looking for a show with an impact, this is it. It’s everything die-hard fans could ask for and clever enough to stand out to newcomers. With a sold-out run at The Other Palace and rumours of a transfer, is this show the next West End hit? Well f*** me gently with a chainsaw; get that scrunchie ready because this big fun show is going places. How very.
Heathers the Musical is sold out at The Other Palace, however you can still get tickets through the daily returns queue or weekly lottery. For more details visit The Other Palace’s website.