Review | Heathers, Theatre Royal Haymarket ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆

‘So, the world’s unfair, keep it locked out there, in here it’s beautiful’. Hearing this lyric live on stage, the words rang clear in the air and carried a new meaning out of the context of the show.  Heathers is pure unadulterated escapism. I was immersed in this crazy world; with its 80s fashion, bizarre expressions and heightened teen angst. By the finale, I was engrossed and didn’t want it to end. Somehow it manages to lock out the outside world and make you feel part of another reality that was, for lack of a better word, beautiful.

The musical adaptation is based on the 80s-cult classic with the same name. In the opening, you would be led to believe that the show is about an ordinary American High School. The three popular girls, the ‘Heathers’, draw pleasure from torturing other students. Our lead Veronica is an outsider yet manages to weasel her way into this popular clique in the hope that her high school life would become slightly more bearable. As a result of some tantalising twists, the show takes a very dark turn. What begins as a preppy and fun show sours and touches on multiple dark themes including teen suicide, sexual assault, societal pressure and violence in schools.

This black comedy can at times be quite tense, but the hilarious one liners and comedic performances help to take the edge off. The musical has kept many of the infamous sayings from the film such as ‘why are you pulling on my dick?’ and ‘well fuck me gently with a chainsaw’ which received many enthusiastic cheers from the audience.

Jamie Muscato (Dogfight) was sensational as JD, Veronica’s love interest. He fully embodies JD’s twisted demeanour.  It was a portrayal that can only be described as dark yet delicious. Carrie Hope Fletcher as Veronica gave an inspired performance. She has a divine voice and was clearly having the time of her life on stage.

The fun score by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy has such contagious tunes. Numbers such as ‘My Dead Gay Son’ and ‘I Will Never Shut Up Again’ raised the roof and sent an electric wave through the audience.

Although it may not be to everyone’s taste, it was a welcome reminder for me why I love musicals. It’s disappointing that I only managed to see this show during its final week in the West End.  I can only hope it returns for an open run.

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