Heathers The Musical ★★★★ Theatre Royal Haymarket | Jun 22 - Sep 12, 2021


The first question to ask about Heathers The Musical is "Were we entertained?" Yes, most definitely. Based on the 1989 Daniel Waters film, which was described as “the nastiest, cruelest fun you can have without actually having to study law,” this isn't the first musical to feature grand guignol and murder as its main theme, but it might be the most darkly cynical and subversive. Here, the school bullies are relentlessly killed off amidst an endless stream of generic rock show tunes by Laurence O'Keefe. Throughout the production, the ensemble work in Gary Lloyd's bouncy choreography is impressive. The leading performers are excellent – Jodie Steele almost steals the show as Heather Chandler, but top marks must definitely go to Christina Bennington as the strong and frequently bemused Veronica. Jordan Luke Gage plays the murderous JD with silkily reptilian élan, and he sings thrillingly. Ross Harmon and Joaquin Pedro Valdes have great fun as the college jocks who shine in their slow motion fight with JD before having to play the whole of Act Two in their underpants. The opening number of the second half, "My Dead Gay Son", could be toe-curlingly embarrassing but becomes a joyous celebration. The banner with the slogan “Westerberg Takes The Bite Out of Suicide” demonstrates that this show delights in taking bad taste to a whole new level. Filled with cartoonish colours and characterisations, plus endless verve, this is a musical that is darkly sardonic, and undeniably, irresistibly fun.

Rated: ★★★★

Reviewed by D.S.J.
Photo by Pamela Raith.

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