Monday, November 28

Heathers the Musical – Palace Theatre

Based on the 1988 movie of the same name, Heathers ‘exploded’ on to the Palace Theatre stage this evening and gave us exactly what we needed after 18 months away from theatres. With killer vocals, perfectly slick choreography and a dark yet extremely comical storyline, Heathers really is a show not to be missed.

The story is told via Veronica (Rebecca Wickes) and her ‘dear diary’ inserts. Veronica wants to fit it and be seen to be one of the cool kids, so she manages to get in with the Heathers, the leaders of the school ‘hierarchy’ and bully’s, lead by Heather Chandler (Maddison Firth). Once Veronica is part of the Heathers and popular, she falls in love with the new mysterious guy, JD (Simon Gordon), and together decide that they want peace and harmony in the school, but how far will they go to achieve this.

The songs in Heathers are very likeable and  catchy but a couple for me really stood out. Candy Store by the three Heathers, Heather Chandler, Heather Duke (Merryl Ansah) and Heather McNamara (Lizzy Parker), is incredible with vocals that are phenomenal leaving Firth  to show off her range in this song, causing the audience to erupt in to rapturous applause and cheering. The harmonies between the Heathers on this songs are so tight they gave me goose bumps. Another huge crowd pleaser came at the beginning of Act two with My Dead Gay Son, again causing the audience to go wild with excitement and involvement.

Photo: Pamela Raith

A great amount of humour was injected by Firth as Heather Chandler, popping up when least expected and having as much fun as possible in her ‘predicament’. Kurt Kelly (Liam Doyle) and Ram Sweeney (Rory Phelan) were the typical dim witted bully guys. They added a lot of physical comedy to the roles, even when not in the spot light the characters were always in their own story and both very brave, spending the majority of act two in their underwear. The heart of the piece is Martha Dunnstock (Mhairi Angus) who is so pure and joyful and wants to be just 17 yet is made fun of and made to feel worthless. Angus’s version of Kindergarten Boyfriend and Parker’s Lifeboat were so poignant leaving you feeling so vulnerable.

Heathers has just the right mix of darkness and comedy to carry us through the story.

Lighting created by Ben Cracknell was perfection. It created great ambience and picked out parts you didn’t even realise you needed to see until your eye was drawn to it. The clever use of coloured spot lights for the Heathers and Veronica at points were genius, pointing out how important those characters were in that moment.

Choreography by Gary Lloyd had everything, it was slick, clean and delivered with such conviction. Direction from Andy Fickman was creative and punchy, cleverly incorporating the scene changes as part of the scene to keep the show moving without a single hitch.

The audience reaction to this show was some of the loudest, encouraging and involved I’ve seen in a very long time and that’s all down to this company and fantastic show. Heathers will leave you feeling included, ‘Beautiful’ and full of ‘Big Fun’

Running at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday 9th October 2021 at https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/heathers-the-musical/palace-theatre-manchester/calendar/2021-10-06

Reviewer Damian Riverol

Reviewed: 5th October 2021

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★

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