Review - Heathers The Musical (Theatre Royal Haymarket)

Fresh from its sold out run at The Other Palace, Heathers The Musical has exploded onto the West End with all the wild energy of a rock concert and all the irrelevance of its 1988 film counterpart.
Carrie Hope Fletcher and the cast of Heathers The Musical
Photo credit - Pamela Raith Photography
Set in the town of Sherwood, Ohio, Heathers The Musical follows seventeen year old nobody Veronica Sawyer as she is taken under the wing of The Heathers, Westerburg High's vicious mean girls. When Heather Chandler, the "mythic bitch" of The Heathers, is accidentally poisoned to death, Veronica must learn to balance the good and bad of her newfound popularity, and rebuke the homicidal urges of her trench coat wearing boyfriend JD, as she tries to survive the hellish hierarchy of high school. 

Rarely does a musical arrive on the West End with a fan base as fervent as that of Heathers The Musical, but the fact is that Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe's wicked black comedy taps into so many fears held by those who struggle to belong in a world which presents perfection as normality and rejects those who don't conform.
T'Shan Williams, Jodie Steele, and Sophie Isaacs in Heathers The Musical
Photo credit - Pamela Raith Photography
The musical's aggressively catchy score has all the pep and punch of O'Keefe's previous hit musical Legally Blonde, whilst rockier numbers like Candy Store, a domineering showcase of The Heathers' power and influence, and balls to the wall Dead Girl Walking, Veronica's acceptance of her destruction at the hands of Heather Chandler and co., help to give the musical a gritty and gutsy oomph.

Veronica, played with plenty of broad humour and contrasting pathos by Carrie Hope Fletcher, is extremely relatable, and loveable in spite of her many bad decisions. Veronica is just doing what she can to survive the Thunderdome that is high school, and that need to be liked and accepted it one which will resonate with many in the audience.
The cast of Heathers The Musical
Photo credit - Pamela Raith Photography
Fletcher, who must have vocal chords of steel to sing the role of Veronica night after night, performs alongside a buzzing cast. In particular, Sophie Isaacs is endearing as the ditzy cheerleader Heather Mcnamara, who hides her troubles underneath a cutesy smile, and Jamie Muscato gives a charming yet disturbing performance as JD, a sort of maniacal Robin Hood who wants to murder the popular kids and raise up those on the fringes of high school society. He gets terrifically creepy as the plot progresses and his plans spiral out of control.

With all the dark humour and pounding musical numbers, it’s easy to almost forget how horrific some of the plot points in Heathers The Musical actually are. There’s murder, suicide, and verbal and physical assault in spades. In one particularly harrowing moment a teenage boy watches his best friend be shot to death by a classmate, attempts to flee, and is subsequently murdered too. The moment is played for laughs but the chilling reality of the scene does seep through.

Heathers The Musical is a dark, cynical, yet strangely uplifting musical, which speaks to all the fears which young people feel today. From beginning to end, every moment is bursting with vivacity. Simply put, it’s a barnstorming success!