Review: Heathers The Musical
Image: The Other Palace
Carrie Hope Fletcher
Brandon Lee Sears
Welcome to Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer is just another of the nobodies dreaming of a better day.
But when she's unexpectedly taken under the wings of the three beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity finally start to come true.
Until JD turns up, the mysterious teen rebel who teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it's murder being a somebody …
Wickedly funny and with dazzling book, music and lyrics by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O'Keefe, Heathers is based on the 1988 cult hit, that starred Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, and produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills, the team behind the acclaimed stage adaptation of Carrie.
With direction from Andy Fickman and electrifying choreography by Gary Lloyd, this is one class production you can't afford to skip.
Heathers The Musical transfers to the West End from 3 September for 12 weeks only at the Theatre Royal Haymarket following a record breaking sold-out run at The Other Palace.
This hilarious adaptation of the classic 1980s movie features sensational brand-new songs and stars Carrie Hope Fletcher (Les Misérables, Addams Family Tour) as Veronica.
Max GreenPerformance date: Thursday 20 September 2018
So, I'm going to get this out of the way now rather than later ... unlike the vast majority of the teen aged thespian community, I don't like "Heathers The Musical".
Granted, there are some jam-packed, powerful, karaoke-worthy whoppers in it's score however, the plot, the story arch, and some of the lesser songs left me feeling like the show wasn't as "beautiful" as I had been lead to believe and it was instead, a big headache where the only audience members having "big fun" were the die-hard fans who were blinded by the big, flashy lights as mum and dad dragged them away from stage door.
I've followed "Heathers The Musical" since it's early stages.
From it's premier in LA to it's short run off-Broadway.
I've listened to the soundtrack just as many times as any other fan and I enjoyed it.
The music was punchy and had this raw, meaty vibe to it.
And this works great when you just want to listen every now and then however, as I experienced when watching the show, listening to these songs one after another makes them all sound ... the same.
They all start with a 4 beat introduction, they all have something "off" about them (take the missing beat in the opening number: "Beautiful" as a prime example), making them edgy and full of teen angst and they all end with a climax which builds and builds for at least 20 seconds until it eventually stops with a perfect cadence.
It just makes all the songs sound the same, so much so that when the new songs were introduced to me, I couldn't remember one lyric or one rhythmic pattern of them after they'd finished.
"I Say No" went on and on and on and I have to admit, I preferred it when it was a 2-second scene.
Even the titles of the new songs, compared to the others, feel lazy, rushed and unloved.
And what about themes?
Well, they're just sort of stuffed anywhere really.
The lyrics were good.
Confusing at times however, they felt empowering and clever, especially in numbers such as "Freeze Your Brain" and "Yo, Girl".
I also enjoyed the the harmonic devices used in "Our Love Is God" however, the repeated lyrics left me bored as we headed into the interval.
The plot to "Heathers The Musical" doesn't deliver the same "oh sh*t" feeling that we had come to love with the original film.
I know, it has to be adapted to fit into the musical properly however, in these adaptations, the plot looses it's focus towards act two, where it feels as it's now on a completely different track and left me asking "have we really just forgotten that we've murdered 3 students?
Is that now coming second to this strung out break-up song and this anti-climatic "I Love My Dead Gay Son" song?.
Don't get me wrong, "Heathers The Musical" has fun with itself.
But, it can mind-numbingly get out-of-hand.
Links and related content
ActDrop listing for Theatre Royal Haymarket
Our show listing for Heathers The Musical
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