Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s adaptation of the 1988 cult hit Heathers has already enjoyed a very successful run at the Other Palace, and now brings a unique blend of teen angst, murder and show tunes to the Theatre Royal Haymarket.
Veronica Sawyer (Carrie Hope Fletcher) is a typical high-school outcast who manages to join the popular clique – consisting of three girls all named Heather – before falling out with them and getting drawn into her boyfriend’s sinister plot to exact revenge. It’s a black comedy of the blackest variety, and a very entertaining evening of theatre.
It’s no exaggeration to say that Carrie Hope Fletcher carries the production; she is on stage almost constantly with energy and charm. She is fantastically funny, and her vocal ability truly is outrageous; numbers such as ‘Dead Girl Walking’ being particularly jaw dropping. The audience – many of them already fans of her Youtube channel, books and flourishing musical theatre career – adore her and she delivers a stunning performance.
Jodie Steele is on hand to ensure that Fletcher isn’t allowed to dominate the entire show however, playing Heather Chandler with impressive vocals, boundless sass and brilliant humour. Further moments of hilarity are delivered by school bullies Ram and Kurt (Dominic Andersen and Christopher Chung respectively), and Rebecca Lock gives a scene-stealing performance as crazed hippy teacher Mrs Fleming. As Veronica’s troubled boyfriend JD, Jamie Muscato is spooky and somewhat mesmerising, with a voice that blends beautifully with Fletcher’s in their many duets – although he is not the strongest solo vocalist.
David Shield’s set is efficient and well-used, easily transforming between scenes. Lighting and sound design works well throughout the entire play, and designers Ben Cracknell and Dan Samson get their moment to shine with an explosive showcase towards the end.
Gary Lloyd’s choreography is brilliantly executed, with a huge amount of energy, although it could have been more inventive in its content. Musically, the first act is great. Act 2 then opens strongly with My Dead Gay Son, which is mad but inspired, but it is followed by fewer memorable numbers. However, brand new song I Say No gives Carrie Hope Fletcher another chance to shine, as well as emotional big hitter Seventeen.
While Heathers may not be the finest American export, it’s a great production, bursting at the seams with talent. If you like your musical theatre unapologetically stagey and incredibly sinister, then it is well worth a watch.