Heathers - Review
It has taken us a while to see “Heathers The Musical”. We missed it at The Other Palace and then it’s limited West End run in 2018 and so we were excited to see it head back to the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Given how long we’ve waited (and with numerous streams of both the UK and New York cast recordings) we had built this up a lot and went in with high expectations. Fortunately, it smashed them all.
Based on the 1980’s film cult film the show centres on Veronica, a senior in high school who just wants to get through her final year. A chance encounter with the impossibly cool Heathers results very quickly in her elevation from Geek to popular. But when she prevents the humiliation of her long-time friend Martha Dunnstock she risks complete social alienation. While it is really a story of someone navigating high school/life the plots takes quite a few dark turns, dealing with bullying and suicide, yet it somehow manages to maintain an air of joyfulness throughout. The score is full of energy which is more than matched by the energy of the cast who delighted the audience. A particular favourite is “Candy Store” performed by the Heathers early on.
The role of the dark and mysterious JD is taken on by Jordan Luke Gage, a familiar romantic lead who’ll be returning as Romeo in & Juliet after this run. A difficult needing the right mix of danger and vulnerability, with both being present in each new thing you learn of his life. Jordan got this mix perfectly, knowing when to let each side of the character show. With each new role he demonstrates how talented he is and importantly how versatile. It will be interesting to see what he chooses for his next role and which direction that will take him.
While all the cast were fantastic we want to specifically call out Heather McNamara. She appeared perfectly at home as one of the Heathers and as a performer was captivating throughout. And it was great to have her brilliant vocals centre stage in the emotional “Lifeboat”.
But the show rises or falls based on Veronica Sawyer which was taken on by Christina Bennington. The only way to accurately describe her performance is “Wow”! She was a complete break from how I imagined the role would be and loved everything she did with it and her vocals throughout were incredible. A performance you do not want to miss.
Pair the fantastic cast with the brilliant direction and choreography and you have an unmissable show. It’s no wonder it has such loyal fans after its earlier run. With the delay of restrictions easing reducing the size of the audience you wouldn’t know it by the noise and appreciation showed, ourselves included. We left feeling completely uplifted whivh is what this show intends to do.
You can see this in the West End until September 12th and on tour until the end of the year. Check here for tickets to both the West End and tour productions.
Rating: 5 Star