Heathers is a black comedy based on the 80s cult film Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Cristian Slater. It is the winner of the ‘Best New Musical’ award from WhatsonStage and has enjoyed two smash hit seasons in London. It is a boldly unique show with potential for a massive cult following.
The show opens, transporting the audience to standard teenage life at Westerberg High and we are soon introduced to the three Heathers, with a striking entrance. The main character, Veronica Sawyer, craves the status and popularity of the cruel bullies, the ‘Heathers’, and all her dreams soon come true. When she becomes popular her other friendships suffer and she happens to meet a mysterious teen called JD. Veronica and JD are drawn to each other, but their blossoming romance takes a dark, sinister turn before quickly escalating. After all, it might kill to be a nobody, but it’s murder being a somebody.
Rebecca Wickes as Veronica Sawyer played the lead role perfectly and she delivered enchanting and impressive vocal performances, whilst Maddison Firth (Heather Chandler) was hilarious in the role, with a standout strong character. The other two Heathers, played by Merryl Ansah and Lizzy Parker, were both well cast and the three Heathers worked well as a power trio.
Mhairi Angus was believable in her misfit role as Martha Dunnstock and her vocal performance of Kindergarten was captivating. Kurt Kelly (Liam Doyle) and Ram Sweeny (Rory Phelan) had strong chemistry as a dopey duo of jocks. The pair spent most of their stage time in just pants, injecting plenty of goofball humour.
The show was impressively choreographed, in-keeping to the storyline, whilst the songs were also a pleasant first listen. They have potential to become even more likeable on further listens, as there is such an interesting variety, from the emotive Seventeen to the comical Blue. Memorable moments of the show include the slow-motion fight and the song My Dead Gay Son which amplified the level of dark humour.
The musical does cover some difficult and dark topics, but the intensity of such topics is balanced well with humour. The well-timed comedy, songs and dance creates a nice pace to the show too.
Well-received by the audience, the cast garnered a lengthy applause. The love of the musical could also be seen by the queue for ‘Heathers’ merchandise after the show had ended.
This unique, black comedy musical is full of talent and well-timed comedy within an otherwise sinister story.
Heathers runs at The Alexandra, Birmingham until Saturday 25 September 2021.
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