Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy’s award winning Heathers The Musical had it’s first London outing as a workshop in 2017 at The Other Palace, before premiering a full production there in 2018. The dark comedic musical was an instant hit winning Best New Musical at the WhatsOnStage Awards and quickly transferred to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in 2018, before touring around the UK in 2021 and opening again at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in the same year.
After the shows second successful West End run it was announced the musical would be making it’s homecoming and opened once again at The Other Palace beginning November 2021 and running until September of this year. Due to the musicals on-going success as a cult fan favourite, the show was sent out again on tour this year starting February and brings Westerberg High to New Wimbledon Theatre to tell the story of Veronica, her teenage angst with a body count and the infamous Heathers.
Heathers the Musical is based on the 1989 film of the same name. Starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater, the film is seen as one of the greatest cult teen films of all. Heathers The Musical revolves around Westerberg High’s Veronica Sawyer who thinks she’s just another nobody, dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, her dreams of popularity may finally come true. However, when mysterious teen rebel JD appears at Westerberg, that all changes as he teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody!
Heathers is such a fun show, you can’t help but get wrapped up in the music, drama and brilliant one liners and this cast did a wonderful job at bringing the much loved show to life. As jocks Kurt and Ram, Alex Woomward and Morgan Jackson oozed toxic masculinity and delivered the perfect cringe-wroth performance. Katie Paine’s Ms. Fleming was the perfect mix of totally unhinged and hilariously funny. Paine looked to be enjoying herself as she choose her Steve for the evening and ad-libbed for a few minutes ending their affair. A memorable moment that never fails to get a laugh.
As our Heathers, Verity Thompson, Elise Zavoc and Billie Bowman as Chandler, Duke and McNamara were perfection. Mythic bitches as they’re described in the show, Thompson’s Heather Chandler was vocally strong and her comic timing was impeccable. Elsie Zavoc gave a fun performance as Heather Duke, portraying the character slightly more unhinged and her powerful Never Shut Up Again was well received by the audience. Billie Bowman’s Heather McNamara brought heart to the Heathers. Performing with great comic timing, Bowman delivered a fine performance and her Lifeboat was an emotional highlight of the evening.
Kingsley Morton was absolutely fantastic as Martha Dunstock and her Kindergarten Boyfriend stopped the show cold mid-way through Act Two. As our Dead Girl Walking, Jenna Innes was vocally outstanding as Veronica. As soon as she sang the impressive riff at the end of Beautiful, the audience knew they were in good hands. Leading a show is no easy feat, but Innes commanded the stage delivering a performance that was impactful and totally her own. Jacob Fowler as JD was absolutely stunning. Not only did he give an exceptional vocal performance but his characterisation of JD was completely unique, casting no doubt in the audiences mind that his JD is dangerous. Fowler gave his JD a malevolence that I haven’t seen in the show since it first opened and his and duets with Innes’ Veronica were disturbingly beautiful, which is exactly what they should be. Bravo!
While objectively a little outdated, Heathers The Musical remains a fan favourite. Fuelled by the recent release of it’s live film, the audience cheered along with all the one liners, knew when to respond and loved every minute of it. So make sure to join in the Big Fun and catch Heathers The Musical while it’s at it’s last scheduled stop, New Wimbledon Theatre.
Reviewed by Stuart James