Tuesday, October 3

Heathers the Musical – Liverpool Empire

If you have never seen the movie of Heathers, it’s unlikely this musical will be what you are expecting. Heathers is a unique musical, both musically and narratively speaking. Veronica Sawyer finds herself finally as a somebody, joining the popular clique of the three Heathers, before deciding it is time to get her old self back and get away from the Heathers. The plot that ensues is dark, funny, and emotionally charged in equal measure.

The music for the show is unique, rooted in pop and modern musical theatre singing. There is so much syncopation in the ensemble singing that it is truly jarring, which is befitting of the constant feeling that something is not quite right. The musical numbers are many, and each is as good as the last, it is impossible to mention them all, but the performance of ‘My Dead Gay Son’ by Connor McFarlane (Ram’s dad) and Jay Bryce (Kurt’s dad) was an emotionally and hilariously delivered highlight.

In truth the musical and the production were terrific. A truly five-star show. The performances of all were tremendous, led by Jenna Innes as Veronica. Innes was outstanding, dramatically strong, likeable with a hint of naivety, and her vocal performance was unbelievable. ‘I say no’, which is Veronica’s lightbulb moment in act two is truly her moment. A showstopping moment that can be compared to defying gravity or me and the sky. Innes’ performance is worth the ticket money alone.

Photo: Pamela Raith Photography

In addition to that, the performances of the other students, in particular Verity Thompson as Heather Chandler were perfect. Thompson oozes mean, popular schoolgirl with every syllable, step, and gesture; Add to that a top-class vocal performance, and she is truly the perfect Heather. The performances of Elise Zavou (Heather Duke) and Billie Bowman (Heather McNamara), her sidekicks and ultimate successors, and the Heathers are truly a force of nature.

The performance of Jacob Fowler as Jason ‘J.D.’ Dean was tremendous. The audience were with Veronica on this part of the journey. We were in love with J.D. as much as she was for much of the show, and we cried for him when hearing about his life. The journey of this character was remarkably portrayed by Fowler, and the arch felt gradually and increasingly menacing.

The vocal performance of the night came from Kingsley Morton as Martha Dunstock. Her rendition of Kindergarten Boyfriend was show-defining. The audience were moved by the sentiment, the writing, but ultimately by a controlled, powerful vocal performance. Morton connected with the audience in a way it is rare to see, even in theatre as high-quality as this.

Special mention goes to Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson as Kurt and Ram, who offer much of the comedy relief in this show, but are also a crucial part of the all-singing, all-dancing ensemble.

The movement and dancing were sensationally choregraphed by Gary Lloyd. Congratulations to Bowman who was also dance captain. Even with the jarring moments, emotional storyline, and outstanding vocal performances, it was crucial that the show still felt like your American teenage musical in places, and this balance was found perfectly.

A huge congratulations to the company and production team of Heathers. It was clear the show is already amassing a cult following. It was an incredible show, and I, like so many of the audience, cannot wait until I have the opportunity to see it again and again. To our readers, go and see this show, you will thank us when you do.

Heathers runs at The Empire until Saturday 8th July, and then continues its UK tour until 28th October. https://www.atgtickets.com/venues/liverpool-empire/

Reviewer: Andrew Lee

Reviewed: 4th July 2023

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.