Heathers The Musical

“It's understandable why this musical is a cult classic”.

Heathers: The Musical embarks on its second UK tour following successful runs in London at Theatre Royal Haymarket and The Other Palace, where it has currently been extended until September 2023.

The storyline follows Veronica Sawyer, a teenage misfit who is desperate to fit into the social norm. She relies on the association of high school bullies - the popular, mean girls ‘Heathers’ to have an easy ride throughout high school. Veronica meets dark and mysterious J.D. who leads her into catastrophic situations, and she finds herself fighting between her desires to fit in, to be loved and her very own morals. 

The production is the same as London’s, which makes sense given the success of the show. The set designed by David Shields is identical, with cast members moving certain set pieces around to change the locations. There is good use of lighting (Ben Cracknell) with the use of a squared spotlight, used in particular when Veronica breaks the fourth wall to ‘write in her diary’, which feels like an address to the audience. The songs written by Laurence O’ Keefe and Kevin Murphy are mainly upbeat with catchy choruses - examples being Big Fun and My Dead Gay Son, which contradict the overall darkness of the story. However, it works well as I feel like it gives light-heartedness to bring the audience back from the doom and gloom. 

Veronica Sawyer, our female protagonist has often been portrayed as a slightly quirky and chaotic character by her predecessors. However, Jenna Innes gives the role a refreshing twist as she takes on a more subtle approach. She is not in your face and over the top with her acting but still demands your attention with her incredible vocals and perfect comedic timing, proving that sometimes less is more. Verity Thompson plays the almighty ‘mythic bitch’ Heather Chandler and is fully believable in her role. She gives an incredible rendition of ‘Candy Store’ and has the mean girl persona nailed. Morgan Jackson and Alex Woodward work so well together to portray Kurt and Ram, making their characters feel so dislikable but making it conflictive by being so hilarious at the same time. Two of the highlight performances of the evening must go to Billie Bowman and Kingsley Morton. Lifeboat and Kindergarten Boyfriend are such tender songs in Heathers and have a lot of emotion within them and both Bowman and Morton perfectly encapsulate this. They completely portrayed their heartbreak in struggling to adapt and to fit in.

We were very fortunate to experience Tom Dickerson on his debut as understudy J.D. Dickerson played the role very charismatically, particularly in the hilarious ‘fight for me’ scene in which the audience members are treated to a slow-motion fight scene between J.D. and high school jocks Kurt and Ram. Dickerson has nailed the ‘cool guy’ persona which Christian Bale portrays in the movie and like Innes, gives a more subtle performance. I personally feel that there needs to be a drastic change in J.D’s character development from the beginning to end of act one in order to fully believe in his dark streak. Whilst Dickerson slightly delved into this, I have preferred the way in which other actors take on this role. However, Dickerson must be commended for his excellent debut performance of JD and it is evident that he is an excellent storyteller. 

Heathers is a favourite amongst younger theatre fanatics and it’s understandable why - I personally feel that we have all connected to one of the characters during our time in High school as tried to manoeuvre friendships, relationships and self-discovery. With a plot that has many twists and a story that has many dark themes underlying, Heathers will take you through every emotion and will leave you questioning how far you’d go to fit in. 

This show was reviewed on the 28th March 2023 at Theatr Clwyd.  Heathers The Musical runs until the 1st April 2023.  Tickets available here: Heathers - The Musical | Theatr Clwyd

Full tour details can be found here: Heathers the Musical - UK Tour

Review written by Vicky Humphreys

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