Heathers the Musical – Theatre Royal Haymarket until 24th November
Review by Caroline Hanks-Farmer
Ok, I’m not going to lie, a part of me – you know the cynical part, thought all the hype about Heathers really can’t be true can it? And if I’m really honest I thought I’d hate it, but all those feelings were completely quashed in the first nano second of curtain up!
Based on the 1988 film Heathers is a black comedy. High School can be a daunting place and Westerburg High is scarier than most. New girl Veronica Sawyer (Carrie Hope Fletcher) is looking to be accepted. There is already an elite clique, in the form of the three Heathers (T’shan Williams, Jodie Steele, Sophie Isaacs). These three girls practically run the school and the only way to be accepted or indeed popular is to infiltrate them. But at what cost does this come at? What consequences evolve and how can Veronica save the day?
Photo Credit Pamela Raith
Let’s be very clear from the start, the hype ladies and gentleman is very real! From the very opening song to the last note this show blasts you into the girls lives. However the auditorium came to be full, whether press, day seats or other means, it is how the audience reacted that struck me? Cheers, whoops and jubilation, this is not a quiet night out, that’s for sure. The blackness of hearts and the consequences are felt. I saw the show on ‘National Suicide Awareness Day’ and some of the story lines, whilst comedic delivered, have underlying reality about bullying and desperation, and can be felt, whether it be in the 1980’s or bang up to date, in this sometimes cruel world.
What makes this show is the cast, who are all exceptional and the fact that they have now transferred into the West End, means that they have continued to build and strengthen their bond and totally unite. The three Heathers all shine especially in their individual numbers. Particular highlights for me were The Me Inside of Me, Never Shut Up Again, Lifeboat, Shine A Light (Reprise) and Big Fun. T’Shan Williams gives a powerhouse performance, whilst Sophie Isaacs delicately brilliantly delivers and Jodie Steele’s strength of characterisation shows through.
Photo Credit Pamela Raith
However Carrie Hope Fletcher once again shows us why she is at the top of her profession. Both her vocals and acting are outstanding. I was in awe of her performance and feel her Veronica will be talked about for years to come and hopefully win her some accolades – if there is any justice in this musical theatre world? Perfectly accompanied by the deeply dark and deadly Jamie Muscato, this leading duo are a joy to watch. Charisma, comic timing and vocals are all on point by both. Highlights were Freeze Your Brain, Dead Girl Walking, Meant to be Yours amongst others. I Say No is a new song and wow its dynamite!
Other noteworthy mentions must go to Jenny O’Leary as Martha. As a former victim of schoolgirl bullying, I felt O’Leary’s pain and totally engaged with her character. Former Jersey Boy Jon Boydon, will never look the same to me again after his rendition of My Dead Gay Son and I was also impressed by his dancing skills. The productions energetic ensemble whose enthusiasm and energy was somewhere in the stratosphere all evening.
Superb cast are expertly directed (Andy Fickman), cleverly and intelligently written by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe this show is such fun. The hype is real, nominations for awards need to be received and won. High School will never be the same again.
Coming soon to my YouTube channel will be cast and creative interviews so watch out for them!