Heathers The Musical is now in the West End, bigger and better than ever before. The musical enjoyed a sensational run at The Other Palace this summer and, due to the sheer clamour for more, is now playing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. We were lucky enough to see it for ourselves in its new home – and here are five reasons why we loved it.
It’s a nostalgia trip
Okay, so high school wasn’t necessarily a great time for everybody, but witnessing the so very 80s world of Heathers might just have you pining for the simpler times.
If you’re unaware of its background, Heathers The Musical is based on the cult 1989 movie starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, taking place in the same teen-drama settings as the movies of the time (think Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller) – but it has a killer twist.
You’ll recognise the stereotypes accordingly: the sporty jocks who think they rule the school, the untouchable kids who actually do, and the nerds, like Carrie Hope Fletcher’s Veronica Sawyer, with their heads down just trying to survive it all. But beneath the surface there’s a whole lot of heart in Heathers – plenty of the material by writers Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy has a carefree, optimistic, and sometimes comically cynical, tone.
This is a sentiment never better conveyed than in the second-half showstopper, Seventeen – a number which, without giving too much away, is sure to melt your heart, despite its somewhat… errr… intense context.
There’s both light and shade
Or, in the case of the trio of Heathers, some serious, sassy, and in some cases downright savage, shade.
Heathers toes a perfect tonal line. There are some searing one liners that’ll have you snorting, and quick quips and gags to get your ribs tickled. And that’s not to mention the physical slapstick throughout – one slow-motion fighting sequence in particular is comic genius.
And then, just like that, Heathers’ plot twists again, and sweeps the comic comfort out from under your feet. The result is incredibly easy to watch, engage with and, eventually, fall in love with.
You’ll get the catchphrases
If, like me, you knew little about Heathers until this run, you’ll probably have been confused to hear many of the words emanating from musical theatregoers during the musical’s run at The Other Palace this summer.
“How Very”. “Freeze your brain”. “What’s your damage?” Catch Heathers The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket, and all context will be revealed (and you’ll become an honorary member of the cult fanbase, which looks a lot of fun).
Carrie Hope Fletcher & Jamie Muscato
The whole Heathers cast are a joy to watch on stage together – it’s clear to see they’re a close-knit bunch from the comic synergy they display throughout. They’re having a good time on stage, and that makes it all the easier to in the audience.
But the stand-out performers for us were the leads: Carrie Hope Fletcher, whose powerhouse performance as Veronica proves the perfect foil to the unfolding madness around her, and Jamie Muscato, who contrasts a gilded voice with a magnetically off-kilter persona as JD. The emergence of their characters’ relationship is enrapturing to watch – and sets up a finale you won’t be able to look away from.
It’s a crowd-pleaser
Heathers diehard or first-time viewer, this musical production more than does its source material justice.
Packed with catchy tunes, funny and dark twists, nostalgic pastiche, and a still-resonant message about the fragility of youth, Heathers will have you laughing, cheering, crying… and booking to go again.