Heathers: The Musical at Theatre Royal Haymarket
What price would you pay to be popular? How far would you go to protect those you love from bullying? These questions – and many more – are explored in Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s dark comedy Heathers: The Musical.
On the surface, it seems to be just another high-school drama. Veronica (Carrie Hope Fletcher), a socially awkward 17-year-old, finds her popularity skyrocketing when the beautiful and rich Heathers make her part of their gang. But things quickly go awry when it turns out that her new boyfriend, the well-read and mysterious JD (Jamie Muscato), is a psychopath who would do anything to rid the school of bullies. Veronica finds herself inadvertently assisting her jaded lover in his quest to create a school filled only with people he deems worthwhile.
The script is crafted with virtuosity, exposing critically the superficiality of high-school society, but also the dangers of becoming too cynical and seeing destruction as the only possible solution. Add to this themes of teenage angst, suicide and murder, and one would think they’re watching a serious drama. But the comedy never falls short, with brilliant sounds and set designs skilfully demonstrating the absurdity of school life. The pace is perfectly executed, moving seamlessly from serious to hilarious moments and vice versa. It’s an exceedingly well-written show, making it no surprise that the audience loves it throughout.
But the story’s tone is improved even more by the excellent score. Granted, none of it is particularly new and ambitious, but it serves the writing well, always playing light-hearted and uplifting music at the comedic parts and dark and gritty rock when things are looking glum.
To top it all off, the production contains an amazing cast, with each member of the troupe performing their parts flawlessly. In particular, Muscato – who manages to prove his endless prowess as an actor by capturing the likeable yet deeply disturbed nature of his character succinctly – and Hope Fletcher – whose vocal skills reach so wide that she leaves the onlookers on the edge of their seats – are incredible singers and will undoubtedly lead promising careers in the future.
Heathers: The Musical is a fabulous success. A hilarious dark comedy that has the courage to tackle deep and unnerving questions, it thrives in almost all aspects. Timeless and dazzling, this show is here to stay.
Photo: Pamela Raith
Heathers: The Musical is at Theatre Royal Haymarket from 3rd September until 24th November 2018. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.