The musical adaptation of the 1980’s cult classic Heathers has found its way to London’s famed West End, and it is every bit as fun as the original film. Showing at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, the dark but humorous script comes to life on stage as the cast and crew put on a stunning performance to the delight of fans throughout the audience. Whether you’ve been in love with Heathers since it first hit the big screen or if you’ve never heard of it, this is a musical delight that will leave you singing its songs for days.
Christian Slater and Winona Ryder put on a dark, memorable performance in the film, and Carrie Hope Fletcher and Jamie Muscato follow suit with their renditions. Playing insecure outcast Veronica and troublesome teenage heartthrob JD, the two have a chemistry that goes far beyond the script. There are plenty of laughs to be had in the exchanges between these too, but their dialogue is deeper than just cheap humor. Putting these two actors opposite each other may be the thing that elevates this musical from great to exceptional.
The music is done by Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe, and it is a perfect fit for the theme of the story. The songs are fun and come along with excellent choreography thanks to the efforts of Gary Lloyd. The scenes with the other Heathers flow seamlessly into the rest of the story, allowing Carrie Hope Fletcher to show off her impressive acting throughout the performance. But it isn’t her acting that steals the show – as flawless as it is – Carrie’s vocals take over the entire room when she’s allowed to solo and show some raw emotion. She has an uncanny ability to quickly transition back to goofy, awkward teenager immediately after pulling on the crowd’s heartstrings while belting out a tune.
Jamie Muscato may not appear as dark as Christian Slater’s JD on the surface, but he puts any doubts to rest once he begins his performance. His ability to generate a mischievous smile and create a humorous sense of discomfort truly works as the part intended it to. Muscato is no slouch in the musical department either, matching Fletcher with his voice throughout the entirety of the performance. After watching this production, it’s difficult to imagine the role of JD being taken over so exquisitely by anyone else in the West End.
David Shield’s costume design is a delight, as he captures the outfits of the 80’s perfectly. Over-the-top bright colors for the Heathers (Jodie Steele as Heather Chandler, T’Shan Williams as Heather Duke and Sophie Isaacs as Heather McNamara) provide an ironic and wonderful foil for the overall dark theme of the story. Ben Cracknell adds to the feeling with his fantastic lighting design, contributing to each transition and keeping the audience enthralled with the whole production. The direction of Andy Fickman ties everything together, making for a performance that looks, feels, and sounds pristine the whole way through. Anybody who wants to enjoy some laughs while taking in an intriguing story would be doing themselves a favor to book a ticket to Heathers!