After a successful run in the West End, the long-awaited Heathers the musical tour reaches Birmingham for a week. Based on the 1989 film of the same name starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, this production had a very appreciative audience on its feet.
Veronica longs to be one of the cool girls with the Heathers rather than a nobody. When she gets her wish, she realises it isn’t all she dreamed. A night with new boy “J D” means her life will never be the same as they take on the school together.
This show is bright and colourful with original up-tempo songs. The subject matter however is dark and thought provoking. There are many difficult subjects covered throughout the show, bullying, homophobia, sexual assault, bulimia, and the main topic of suicide. Although serious topics, some may feel that they are trivialised or glamorised. Others may say that while we are laughing about them it brings them to the front of our minds. The audiences’ views will depend on the experiences they have had in their lives.
Humour is sprinkled throughout the production creating a lighter tone which keeps things enjoyable. There is a surreal air with “ghosts” haunting Veronica, colourful and dynamic lighting by Ben Cracknell and a simple multifunctional set. The cast are polished with faultless musical numbers only occasionally let down as odd words are missed. The high school experience is captured perfectly from the boisterous jocks to the quiet nerds. Veronica is a complex character and Rebecca Wickes is a delight to watch and listen to as she portrays every aspect to perfection, belting the big numbers and holding back on the more tender ones. Simon Gordon is a dark and brooding J.D and creates a balance between vulnerable and devious that keeps you on his side. Kurt and Ram (Liam Doyle and Rory Phelan) provide a large amount of the comedy moments and never fail to raise a smile. Leader of the Heathers, Heather Chandler (Maddison Firth) is bold, loud, full of sass and attitude and commands attention throughout.
The second act gives different people a chance to shine with beautiful heart wrenching solos filled to the brim with emotion. Mhairi Angus as Martha and Lizzy Parker as Heather McNamara cause the audience to hold their breath as their vocals soar to fill the theatre.
Overall if you take this show at face value, with outstanding performances all round, great musical numbers and humour you will have a good night out at the theatre. The cheers and love for the show from the fans in the audience was clear. There is clearly a devoted following for this show giving it cult status.
Heathers the musical is at the Alexandra Birmingham until Saturday 25th September 2021. https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/heathers-the-musical/the-alexandra-theatre-birmingham/
Reviewer: Annette Nuttall
Reviewed:21st September 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★