Review: Heathers Musical | Theatre Royal Newcastle
Dear Diary… Heathers The Musical rolled into town and punched it in at the Newcastle Theatre Royal.
Put on your red, yellow or green blazers, but don’t worry you don’t have to be in the popular clique to attend this.
I was invited to see this touring version of Heathers the musical. You will know this either from the 1980’s cult classic film of the same name starring Wynona Ryder and Cristian Slater, or heard the rave reviews coming out of the London production that started at The Other Palace and moved to the west end after it’s successes. Now on tour we have the privilege of seeing this show on the road.
Heathers is dark, comedic and funny throughout. Used for her talent as a master note forger Veronica Sawyer just wants to get through high school without being harrassed or bullied, and is taken under the wing of the popular and feared clique ‘Heathers’. The name coming from the fact all three girls share the same name. While they look to be better than all the other high school types, Veronica knows she isn’t like them and tries to instill empathy and show she’s not like them. On this journey she meets ‘JD’, a newbie at school and one that believes these cliques and high society girls are the real problem, and he has his own way of getting rid of them. As love grows between the two we see the lengths love goes to and JD’s obsessive nature come to the fore. Expect murder, lies and confessions. The play brings up some sensitive topics but manages to keep humour even in the darkest of moments.
The casting in this tour was brilliant. Heathers, all three of them were great in their high society, popular high school girl roles. Merryl Ansah (Heather Duke), Maddison Firth (Heather Chandler) and Lizzie Parker (Heather McNamara) parading around as the girls that everyone wanted to be. I really felt for Mhairi Angus as the tormented best friend Martha ‘Dumptruck’ Dunnstock. I also cant go withoutmentioning our ‘Jocks’ Kurt Kelly and Ram Sweeney, played by Liam Doyle and Rory phelan respectively. Their portrayal of these football players was perfect and so laddish it was brilliant. They had the audience in laughs throughout the musical, not to mention those in the audience gawping at their six-packs on display too! Simon Gordon, dark and unassuming in his role as the psychotic boyfriend Jason ‘JD’ Dean, he made sure love is god in his obsession for his girlfriend Veronica Sawyer, played by Rebecca Wickes who stole the show.
Rebecca was the stand out performer in this for me. Lead she may have been, but she lived up to and surpassed any expectation you may have. Damaged, Empathetic, Humourous, Hopeful and and an amazing voice, it was a sheer joy to watch her throughout the whole show. I loved the way her face lit up, and her abilty to portray the many sides we see from her character was brilliant.
The music is just phenomenal. Led by guitar riffs and drumbeats, the songs were upbeat and energetic, as well as a few ballads to accompany. ‘Beautiful’ introduced us to the hopes and dreams of these high school students and introduced us to all of the characters, I liked ‘Fight for me’ where we see Veronica fall for her boyfriend to be, of whom we learned more about through ‘Freeze your brain’. Big Fun was the most catchy song, where Veronica realises her popularity and you’ll find yourself singing along again and again. ‘Dead Girl Walking’ was one of the songs led by guitar riffs and was a pleasure to listen to, a slower pace but raw, as well as ‘I say no’, ‘Your welcome’ reminded me of a hamilton musical style sequence of lyrics. ‘Our love is god’ we get to see JD’s true self and obsessive nature really come out. ‘My dead gay son’ came out of nowhere and got one of the biggest rounds of applause of the night. I found myself hitting play on my ipone playlist on the soundtrack the enxt day to relive this all.
A standing ovation greeted the cast at the end of the show, and How Very….well deserved it was. Out this in your diary and grab a ticket while it’s in town.
Tickets from: From £15.00
Matinees: Thu & Fri 2pm, Sat 2.30pm
Running time: 2hrs 30mins (including interval)
Recommended: PG, contains swearing and sexual references. Contains flashing lights, strobes, haze and use of pyrotechnics
Tickets and Information available at https://www.theatreroyal.co.uk/whats-on/heathers/