Heathers the Musical – Review

Dear Diary, did you hear? Heathers, the record breaking smash hit musical is wowing audiences at Milton Keynes Theatre.

Heathers the Musical is on its first ever UK and Ireland tour and there’s no doubting its appeal especially among younger audiences.

It taps into the zeitgeist for black comedies about murder and if you’re a fan of Dexter, Six Feet Under and God Bless America then you’ll love Heathers’s warped sense of gallows humour.

The musical is also a showcase for the incredible talent coming from Britain’s stage schools. The cast is mostly young and just making their way in the business.

For some this is their debut show while others find themselves suddenly thrust into the limelight.

Stand-in Rhiane Drummond was on last night, promoted from a minor role to play one of the leads – Heather Duke – and she was sensational.

Others have paid their dues in the chorus of large companies.

The touring company also features two former royals from the hit musical, Six, including the leading lady Rebecca Wickes, who kills ’em every night as High School oddball Veronica Sawyer, and the very brilliant Maddison Firth as ‘mythic bitch’ Heather Chandler.

But each and every one gives flawless, high energy, standout performances, that makes Heathers the success it is.

Written by Kevin Murphy (Desperate Housewives) and Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde), both old hands at creating hugely successful TV and stage shows, Heathers has gained a cult following since its premiere in 2014.

Now we’re back in September 1989 and 17-year-old Veronica is determined to see out her last year in school with as little trouble as possible.

Alienation, bullying, anxiety, fitting in, staying alive and growing up, are well known tropes in teen shows and something everyone can relate to or remember.

Westerberg High has it all – from the jocks to the nerds, the outsiders and the inner circles.

And reigning over them all are the Heathers, three bitches from hell, led by blonde little rich girl, Heather Chandler.

Veronica wheedles her way into becoming an honoury Heather in the hope of a safe passage.

But her life changes beyond all recognition when she falls for the new boy in town, book-reading JD (an impressive Simon Gordon), whose dad apparently blows up buildings for The Mob.

The pair become soulmates. But it soon becomes clear that JD, the enigmatic rebel, is more mentally damaged than anyone at school and an incident at a party sets the pair on a path which inevitably heads for an explosive climax.

Rebecca Wickes is outstanding as the feisty, fearless Veronica. She’s the lynchpin in the story and is on stage for the entire 130-minute show, belting out numbers and slipping seamlessly from put-upon teen to unintentional mass murderer.

Snarls and asides to the audience, witty one-liners and putdowns, plus a powerhouse voice ensures that it’s impossible to overlook Maddison Firth’s Heather Chandler.

Nothing will keep her down and her continued presence in the show is a real bonus. The girl’s a gifted comedienne as well as an sensational singer.

The musical numbers are catchy and brash, although none memorable enough to be singing on the way home

And there are standout turns by the show’s two seasoned performers, Kurt Kansley and Andy Brady, who play the dad roles, especially in the Act II opener, My Dead Gay Son.

Fast, funny and furious, Heathers the Musical teaches a lesson in tolerance and acceptance while providing a class act in entertainment.

Running at Milton Keynes Theatre until Saturday before touring to Wycombe Swan (Nov 23-27); Wales Millennium Centre (Nov 30-Dec 4) and Edinburgh Playhouse (December 7-11).

A West End production opens at The Other Palace next Thursday, running until February 20.

Heathers the Musical
  • Heathers the Musical
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Summary

Fast, funny and furious, Heathers the Musical teaches a lesson in tolerance and acceptance while providing a class act in entertainment.

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